Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Feats of Overhead Strength - Jules Bacon

Clevio Massimo


Gary Cleveland


Al Beinart, Detroit Michigan,
bent press record holder.
330 pounds.



Feats of Overhead Strength
by Jules Bacon (1958)


The list of men who lifted 400 pounds and more overhead is growing. Arthur Saxon was the first with his two-hands-anyhow of 448. Karl Swoboda became second with his jerk of 448, and Charles Rigoulot became the third when he clean & jerked 402. In our present era, made by amateurs and lifting under official conditions, those who succeeded are:

John Davis, Norbert Schemansky, Dave Sheppard, Paul Anderson, Clyde Emrich, Medvedev, Novikov, Dave Ashman, Doug Hepburn and Umberto Selvetti.

The first man in the world to make an Olympic total of over 1,000 pounds on the three lifts was Steve Stanko. This took place in 1941 at the Middle Atlantic championships in York. Stanko pushed the clean & jerk record then held by Luhaar of Estonia from 369 to 382. In training he clean and jerked 390 many times.

The first American to make a world’s record on one of the International Five lifts (one hand snatch, one hand jerk, plus the three Olympic lifts, then the basis for lifting competition the world over) was Dick Bachtell. In 1931 at the Penn A.C. in Philadelphia he made a left hand snatch of 155 pounds while weighing 132.

At least eight men are credited with having officially lifted 300 pounds overhead with one hand. Arthur Saxon is credited with a bent press of 371, the highest on record. Then Thomas Inch, Edward Aston, Joe Nordquest, Lionel Strongfort, Harold Ansorge, Paul Baillargeon and Al Beinert, who recently took the record away from Baillargeon by making 330 pounds. Both Wally Zagurski and John Grimek have pressed over 300 pounds to arm’s length, but neither came up to an erect position. Wally was by far the lightest man ever to get 300 to straight-arm’s length. Years ago we had the most exclusive club in the world, the 300 pound club, which was opened to any athlete who lifted 300 pounds overhead in any manner. Now the 300 press club is becoming common. Long ago the continental style of pressing was used, which permitted any degree of back bending, but today a military style is being enforced, altho’ not always successfully. The press record then was held by Schilberg from Austria with 292, but was increased by Josef Manger of Germany to 319, then taken by John Davis and now being held by Paul Anderson in excess of 400 pounds.

Henry “Milo” Steinborn, for many years known as the Strongest Man in Wrestling, made a record in 1921 with a 552 deep knee bend. The amazing thing about this record is that Henry got the weight on his shoulders unassisted, by way of rocking it onto his shoulders. The record seemed to stay until Doug Hepburn, Canadian strongman, exceeded it with over 600 and later made over 700 pounds on this lift, taking the weight from supports. Anderson then assaulted this record by doing over a half ton currently holds it without any takers.

Art Levan became the first American to continental & jerk double bodyweight. This feat was performed at one of the contests staged by the York Barbell Club. Doing double bodyweight on the clean & jerk has long been considered one of the greatest feats of any sport, and Tony Terlazzo became the first to accomplish this feat, clean & jerking 275 while weighing 137½ in 1933.

Norb Schemansky was, for a long time, the heaviest man to succeed in this feat when he made 399½ while weighing 196 pounds. Clyde Emrich, in making 409 at a bodyweight of 198, lifted 13 pounds more than double bodyweight. Chuck Vinci clean and jerked 296 at 122, 52 pounds more than double bodyweight. Now Isaac Berger is the first man, in practice, to press double bodyweight. At 135 he pressed 270 at Muscle Beach.

The late John Y. Smith, at the age of 60 and weighing less than 160 pounds, possessed a phenomenal grip and dead lifted 520, also making remarkable poundages in other lifts to win the title of New England’s Strongest Man.

In 1933 Weldon Bullock became the first 17 year old boy in the world to clean & jerk over 300 pounds. This record was then surpassed by Danny Fornataro with a lift of 300 at age 16. Pete George, who clean & jerked 300 pounds while weighing 145 at 15 years of age, became the lightest and youngest to accomplish this feat. In winning the World’s Championship in Phila. in 1947 at age 17 he made 319 pounds.

Steve Stanko, the first American to snatch 300 pounds, was quickly followed by Louis Abele and then by John Davis. In totaling 1002, Stanko snatched 310. Davis made 317 in winning the 1941 Nationals, which was 24½ higher than the accepted record held by the late Ron Walker.

Steve Gob, professional wrestler, pressed 270 before the Second World War and thus exceeded the accepted record at that time by 17 pounds.

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