November 14, 2002

'Strong Arming The Amateurs In A Flash'
By Jonathan Kivell


At first glance, Sean Ringgold looks intimidating at 6'3", 270 pounds,
stepping out of a black Impala with tinted windows. But after a few minutes of
conversation, the recent New York State amateur arm-wrestling champion seems more
like a gentle giant. I"'m not a harmful person," Ringgold said,
with a dayplanner and self-help book at his side. "I don't fight, I
communicate." Ringgold won the championship for both right and left arms
at last month's Empire State games, held on the eightieth floor observation
deck of the Empire State Building. President of the New York Arm Wrestling Association
Gene Camp said, "To win, Sean had to beat all the borough champions . . .
. He has no technique, but he beats all these veteran arm wrestlers with brute
strength. He's such a strong guy."


Muscleman Ringgold prefers to settle disputes with words. Tribune Photo by Jonathan
Kivell


Ringgold says he was so successful because both his girlfriend and father attended
the recent matches. "With them in the crowd, I don't think I can be
beaten," he said. Outside the ring, Ringgold's main hobby is self-help
literature and he has read nearly one hundred books and listened to five hundred
tapes on the subject. Working a few years ago as a lifeguard in the Rockaways,
Ringgold randomly came across the Queensborough Arm Wrestling Championship. He
was able to enter the tournament on the spot, and ended up winning for both right
and left arms. He successfully defended his title as borough championship before
entering this year's Empire State Games. Ringgold, whose nickname around
the arm-wrestling circuit is"Flash" for his ability to pin opponents
quickly, said he plans to participate in upcoming tournaments, but his goals extend
further than his arms. Now working for BET as "Big Head" on 106th and
Park and as a legal services associate, Ringgold hopes to launch a modeling and
acting career. Says Ringgold, "I could see myself taking a soap opera role."