Rogue athlete Martins Licis (aka “The Dragon”) is a one-of-a-kind within the Strongman ranks—a tenacious, crowd-pleasing competitor who simultaneously looks like the future of the sport and a throwback to its legendary past.
In 2022, Martins added an Arnold Strongman Classic title to a list of accomplishments that already includes a Rogue Invitational victory (2021) and a memorable reign as World’s Strongest Man (2019). Over the years, he has gained equal amounts of recognition for awesome individual feats of strength, including a 565 LB Steinborn Rockover Squat that eclipsed the nearly 100 year-old record set by Milo Steinborn himself.
The real secret to Licis’s success, though, has been consistency. At the World’s Strongest Man in 2019, he never finished below third in any event, and with victories in the Squat Lift and Atlas Stones, he was able to leapfrog Mateusz Kieliszkowski and Hafthor Bjornsson, becoming just the sixth American champion in the WSM’s 42-year history.
Two years later, after overcoming several major injury setbacks, the Dragon showed his relentless consistency again at the Rogue Invitational’s inaugural Strongman competition in Texas. He finished Top-3 in the first four events, then finally took his first event win when it mattered most, putting on a show-stopping performance in Stones Over Hitching Post to outduel Tom Stoltman in overall points, 45-42. The story was very similar six months later at the 2022 Arnold Classic in Columbus, as Licis saved his first event win for the final event, Stone to Shoulder, giving him the overall edge over Oleksii Novikov.
Born in Latvia, raised in Massachusetts, and currently based in California, Martins has been training in strength sports since the age of 11, learning first from his father Kristaps Licis, and later from accomplished trainers Odd E. Haugen and Scott Brengel. His new personal strength headquarters, the Wreck-It Gym in El Segundo, CA, opened in 2021. You can watch Martins give Rogue a personal tour of the space here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=md0gW0oe17g