Eastern Ontario teacher set to flex in national arm wrestling championship

·2 min read
Philippe Lauzon, 41, is this year's Ontario arm wrestling champion among competitors who weighed in between 177 and 198 lbs. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada - image credit)
Philippe Lauzon, 41, is this year's Ontario arm wrestling champion among competitors who weighed in between 177 and 198 lbs. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada - image credit)

If you're thinking of challenging someone to an arm wrestling match, it would be best to avoid a certain eastern Ontario teacher.

Philippe Lauzon of Hawkesbury, Ont., recently became the Ontario arm wrestling champion in his weight class, sending the 41-year-old to Winnipeg to compete in the Canadian championships next month.

Lauzon, who teaches physical education at l'École secondaire de district catholique de l'est ontarien, trains in his basement with a specific regimen that includes a set of flexion and extension exercises.

In arm wrestling, Lauzon says technique is important, but not as much as physical strength.

"[With practice] you can gain a little strength, but not a lot. What we can do, however, is stay healthy," Lauzon told Radio-Canada in a French interview.

He also said his success isn't simply an arm's race. Arm wrestlers use their whole body to dig deep to find that extra ounce of strength and will during competitions. When working on form, a good training partner is also "super important."

"When training, you don't necessarily want to win or lose. You want to train," Lauzon said.

Passion rediscovered during the pandemic 

Lauzon said he's always loved strength sports, including powerlifting, weightlifting and strongman competitions, and he first fell in love with arm wrestling in his mid-20s.

As happens for many in their 30s, family life took over for him with two young boys, and his exercise regime slowed.

Then as he approached 40, Lauzon reconnected with arm wrestling.

"I missed the 'face to face' with an opponent," he said.

His discipline and hard work took him to the Ontario championships last month in Tweed, Ont., where he competed against fellow men who weighed anywhere from 177 to 198 lbs.

Denis Babin/Radio-Canada
Denis Babin/Radio-Canada

Switched arms, changed results

Lauzon began the competition using his right arm, which he believed to be his strongest. After a few matches he was in sixth place, losing twice to competitors that sat at the top of the leaderboard.

"I said to myself: 'Okay, you're in a good position'," he said, but he wasn't completely satisfied.

He started using his left arm and won the next six consecutive matches to take home the title.

"It is an indescribable feeling of pride," he said. "I felt alive. I felt good. It motivates me for what's to come."

Even as the podium looked like it might be unattainable, Lauzon said he continued to set measurable goals.

"We don't have control over our opponents. We don't know what they will do. We don't know how they train. Me, [I have] control over me," he said.

That mentality helped him reach the national championships, and obtain an unexpected sponsorship that will cover his plane ticket to Manitoba.

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