Over The Top was the biggest event in armwrestling history. Beginning with the first qualifier in Beverly Hills in August 1985, the competition lasted a year, moved the length and breadth of North America and included qualifying events in Europe, Israel and Japan. The finale came 25 years ago today, on July 26th 1986, with an 18-hour marathon tournament at the Las Vegas Hilton. The following year came the release of the Sylvester Stallone film “Over The Top” which had inspired the creation of the competition. The film featured many real-life armwrestlers and footage from the actual tournament.
But whose idea was all this? How did it get quite so big? And what was it like to compete in that colossal contest? To mark its anniversary, I decided to seek out some of the stories behind the iconic moment of armwrestling folklore.