Iron History

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03/21/2002 Entry: "Iron History Mar 22-28, 2002"

LATE NEWS: Thanks to David Webster for the following results at the Arnold Strongman competition Feb 22-23, 2002 in Columbus, Ohio:

1. Mark Henry
2. Svend Karlsen
3. Phil Pfister
4. Mark Philippi
5t Raimonds Bergmanis
5t Andy Bolton
7. Brad Gillingham
8. Brian Schoonveld

Met-RX also gave bonuses to the strongmen that signed autographs in its booth Mark Henry and Phil Pfister each received $1,000 for their attempts at lifting the Inch replica.

Arnold Strongman Events:

#1 either cleaning (bar not touching body on ascent) or continentaling (bar allowed to touch, indeed, rest, on the body during ascent) then jerking the Apollon Wheels replica manufactured by Ivanko Barbell Company. 365 lbs 9 ounces, with a non-revolving 1.93" diameter bar. Only two men used the clean method: Henry & Gillingham, the others used the continental method. David Webster explains that for this competition any lift brought to the shoulder without using the belt as a resting place was deemed a 'clean'. But to remain consistent with history, I have indicated below where, by resting the bar on bodyparts, the lifter performed a continental because it was/is possible to perform a continental without using a belt. Clean means clear (of the body) so any deviation of this becomes a continental by definition, and since only two men cleaned the large wheels, this distinction should be presented in my opinion�

1. Mark Henry 3 cleans 3 jerks
2. Mark Philippi 1 cont. 1 jerk
3. Svend Karlsen 2 cont. 0 jerks
the following placements were determined by using a smaller set of wheels weighing 325 lbs was used, descriptions by David Webster, with my notes in brackets:
4t Phil Pfister 3 cont. 3 jerks
4t Brad Gillingham 3 cont. 3 jerks
5. Brian Schoonveld 1 cont. 3 jerks
6. Raimonds Bergmanis 1 clean? 0 jerk
-. Andy Bolton was unable to shoulder the wheels

Event #2: Deadlift. (I think the deadlift employed the second set of wheels (325 lbs) as the base amount. If so, the wheel diameter was 22" (rather than 18" standard).

1. Andy Bolton 885 for 3 reps
2. Mark Henry 885 for 2 reps
3. Brad Gillingham 845 for 1 rep
4. Mark Philippi 825 for 1 rep
5. Raimonds Bergmanis 815 for 1 rep
6. Svend Karlsen 775 for 1 rep
7. Phil Pfister 715 for 1 rep
8. Brian Schoonveld 665 for 1 rep

Event #3: Hummer Push Over a 40' Course; Tires with only 6.5 lbs of pressure. The Hummer S-1 Weighs approx. 8,000 lbs:

1. Raimonds Bergmanis 17,07 seconds
2. Svend Karlsen 17.62
3. Phil Pfister 18
4. Mark Philippi 18.53
5. Mark Henry 20.59
6. Andy Bolton 23.47
7. Brad Gillingham 25.6
8. Brian Schoonveld 35 feet, 6" in 30 seconds

Events #4: Farmer's Walk- 815 lb timber-frame; 32' ramp rising an inch per foot. The men stood on flat ground to begin and then climbed the ramp. No straps were allowed:

1. Phil Pfister 8.7 seconds
2. Svend Karlsen 9.5
3. Mark Henry 10.19
4. Brian Schoonveld 13.5
5. Andy Bolton 19.2
6. Mark Philippi 20.84
7. Raimonds Bergmanis unable to complete course
8. Brad Gillingham forearm injury (or biceps tendon injury?)

VIEWPOINT: Measurement claims: The difference between a person who is 5' tall and a person who is 6' tall is, of course, 12", but more significantly, the difference is 20%. So if a 5' man claims to be 6' tall, observers will not question his height claim, they will question his sanity, because the notion that his height is being reported accurately is absurd. We have no difficulty in appraising vertical measurements such as this.

But when lateral measurements, or circumferences are reported, we do not observe as accurately.

Shoulder width is an interesting topic. The expression 'wide as a barn door' may be fun to utter and will convey a sense of great breath, but in fact even most very large bodybuilders and powerlifters and strength athletes are not as wide as a HOUSE door, which range in the area of 30 to 36 inches wide.

Although olympic type barbell bars vary a little in distance from collar to collar where the bar may be grasped, generally a figure of 53" will be in the ballpark at least to convey our point here. If a man claims to have shoulders that are 53" wide, then obviously when he is performing a curl with an Olympic barbell, his shoulders will be as wide as the collars on the barbell. Not too long ago Flex magazine presented some photos of TWO bodybuilders standing side by side using the same barbell and performing very heavy curls. These men were very broad shouldered but fit with room to spare between the barbell plates. So we know that adding their shoulder widths does not total 53", nor do they claim that width.

In fact, I measured bench press wonder Anthony Clark's shoulder width at about 23" and he is one of the men whom we would refer to using the barn door analogy. A claim of shoulder width for the late Grizzly Brown has asserted 34". Almost as wide as a yardstick, and in fact I have a photo of a yardstick being held against Grizzly's shoulder area, and 27" is much closer to reality. Another test would be this: It was stated that Grizzly stood 6' tall, so if you have a photo of him standing facing the camera, relaxed, with his arms hanging at his sides, with his feet together, then mark a piece of paper from head to toe, and you have a 6' ratio range. Then place that piece of paper across his shoulders- it should be about twice as wide as his shoulders 72": 34" approximately. Some of these incorrect claims may have to do with the measurer not understanding how the shoulders are to be measured, which is palms of the hands touching sides of the thighs, no tensing. The measurement is not to be taken with arms flared to the sides and then measured from where the deltoid joins the upper arm!

On the website of Victor Richards a shoulder width of 45" is claimed�so if he grasps a barbell collar to collar with his hands adjacent to his shoulders at the top of the curl, and curls it up to his shoulders, then assuming a normal palm width of 4" or so, we can add 4"+4"+45" and get 53", so that no extra space will appear between the collars. But in fact, photos of him using an Olympic barbell reveal that his shoulder width is considerably less than half the collar to collar measurement, which is to say, less than 26.5". Several inches less, and my careful guess would be his shoulder breadth is approx. 22" to 24". Also, on the three barbells I measured recently, the non-knurled finger spacing areas on the bar were 16" either side of the bar's center, which of course means that from finger spacing to finger spacing is 32". I have never seen anyone whose bi- deltoid width even comes close to these marks.

Of course, anyone having a shoulder width of 45" will have a shoulder circumference exceeding 90" by a few inches.

Why are such claims made when anyone not in need of a seeing-eye dog can instantly detect deception? An artist is not needed to draw the conclusion.

We will leave the discussion of circumference measurements for another time.

We now resume regular programming�

NEWS: Please notice the link on Iron History's intro. We have included official descriptions of the 42 British Amateur Weight Lifters' Association Lifts, which may be handy when reading posts such as Mar 23, 1901 below. And a new respect should be given to those who lifted under the BAWLA rules- heels must remain together during a two hands deadlift (so long, sumo style), and arms must remain PARALLEL during a two hands snatch. There are some very interesting details in the old rules.

Mar 22, 1980 Liz Vest won Mrs.(sic) Louisiana. Also this year she placed second in the Ms. New Orleans.

Mar 23, 1901 Charles Russell vs Monte Saldo in London at the Royal Acquarium for the title of Professional Weightlifting Champion of England. The four involved lifts were: Right Hand Clean, Left Hand Clean, Two Dumb-bells Clean and Jerk, and Two Hands Clean and Jerk. Russel totaled 728.25 lbs to Saldo's 508.25- a misleading total considering Saldo bombed on all his Two Hands Clean and Jerk attempts, and please notice the similarity and the difference in the last two listed lifts' names: Both are cleans and jerks, both mention the use of 'two'; in the former two dumbbells, in the latter, two hands. Are not two hands needed for the two dumbbells? But the distinction, though un- mentioned is that a barbell is used in the latter lift. This is the same distinction between the Two Hands Anyhow and the Two Hands Clean and Jerk, with the former requiring a separate implement in each hand, which can include a barbell, ringweight, blockweight, dumbbell, kettlebell etc.

Mar 23, 1935 A contest between Bill Good and Ronald Walker in London. Walker at 190 lbs outweighed Good at 180, and this may explain Walker's narrow win 835 lbs to 810 lbs. In the 2 hand press Good 230, Walker 250. Both men snatched 255. Good jerked 325 to Walker's 330.

Mar 23, 1939 Bob & Juanita [Peoples] wedding day. Bob, the famous deadlifter, no doubt had no trouble carrying Juanita over the threshold. Bob died Jun 19, 1992. Can anyone inform us if Mrs. Peoples is still with us?

Mar 23, 1949 Charles Kent won the Mr. Capitol District contest, on the very same day that Kurt Saxon was writing a letter to Leo Gaudreau explaining how he and his wife were not allowed to enter their home district in Germany: "As I wrote you in my letter, March 23, 1949, I tried to go to my home town, but on the border, from my home sector, they did not let me pass in my home sector and so I had to come back here [to Seeg]. This was a hard blow to my wife and myself and made us a lot of expenses."

Mar 23, 1950 Oscar Matthes died; born Sep 29, 1863.

Mar 23, 1998 John Farbotnik died; born May 20, 1925. Was the 1950 AAU Mr. America. He had earlier won the 1946 Mr. Chicago, and the 1950 Mr. California, and won the Jr. Mr. America two weeks before taking the Sr. Mr. America, then later that year won the World's Best Developed Athlete. He appeared on the Groucho Marx TV Show 'You Bet Your Life' and a photo of Groucho feeling John's biceps appeared in Strength & Health in Apr 1951. For awhile he had owned a couple of gyms in California. I spoke to one of his daughters after he passed away, a most pleasant woman who was proud of her father.

Mar 24, 1910 In January 1910 Max Sick desired to be known hence as Maxick, then on this date in the offices of Health & Strength magazine he signed papers to have a strength contest with Edward Aston., contest to happen on August 4th utilizing six lifts, with Aston winning the contest.

Mar 24, 1916 Roland Joseph Essmaker born. He would become the first AAU Mr. America, in 1939. The contest which Bert Goodrich won before this was a Pro-Am contest, and not 'sanctioned' by the AAU.

Mar 24, 1934 William Smith, the actor and bodybuilder born in Columbia, Missouri.

Mar 24, 1934 Clevio Massimo, age 43, posed in Maryland and 'handled his partner as if she did not weigh more than a wooden wand'. When he posed 'People gasped and sighed and applauded. Words can not express just how terrific Clevio Massimo is. Muscles sttod out everywhere'-according to Bob Hoffman.

Mar 24, 1959 John Terilli born

Mar 24, 1962 Meral Ertunc born in Anraka, Turkey. Women's Physique World magazine profiled her in May 1992, but sadly by Aug 1997 in Muscle & Fitness magazine she was reporting on 'The Fight of My Life'- breast cancer. Have not seen any recent reports about her.

Mar 24, 1962 Paul Anderson pressed 415 lbs

Mar 24, 1966 Tonya Knight born in Kirkville, Maryland. She won Ms. International in 1991, and the IFBB Pro Women's Grand Prix in Italy a month later. Her column KNIGHT TIME ran in MuscleMag International from Nov 1989 thru Aug 1994.

Mar 24, 1996 Dr. Charles Moss died; born Jun 13, 1914

Mar 25, 1872 Horace Barre born in Montreal; died 1918 at age 46. He could 'put up' with one arm a 275 lb dumbell (surpassing Cyr's 273.25 lbs), and could, while standing Erect, hammer curl a 100 lb dumbbell. An unauthenticated carry feat attributed to Barre is to have tilted onto one shoulder an enormous barbell weighing 1,270 lbs and waking 50 feet with it at Louis Attila's New York City gym. This according to Willoughby. When the story is told by Gord Venables the weight becomes 1,450 lbs. and the distance 12'. When I have compared the statements of Venables to the statements of others, there is often disagreement, and it has been my experience that Venables is one of the lesser reliable writers when it comes to getting poundages and other details correct. For example, he once wrote that the Apollon wheels bar was 3" in diameter, when of course, it is just under 2". Venables' strong suit as a writer was not in the field of history.

Mar 25, 1909 The Arthur Saxon Trio's American debut in the Ringling Brothers Circus in Madison Square Garden.

Mar 25, 1938 Roger Eell's fourteen futile attempts to bent press the Cyr dumbbell . The bell, perplexingly, was loaded to 211, and Eells assumed it was 202 which was it's weight empty (as as the text in S&H Jun 1938 says 'partially loaded?). Anyway, on one of Eell's attempts he had the bell overhead but his feet were still spread apart, and he Was too exhausted to get them together and had to give up. He had done 235 lbs, I assume on a barbell.

Mar 25, 1966 Tony Terlazzo heart attack; died the next day

Mar 25, 1967 Bill Pearl posed in Winter Haven, Florida. I was there, and still have the autographed photo from the occasion. Bill was posing inside a cabinet- sort of like a phone booth- with an open front which faced the audience. The auditorium was darkened by turning off the lights, and when all the lights came on, bill has assumed another pose, then the lights would go off, then come on for another pose. Bill also placed two license plates back to back and tore them both in half at once.

Mar 25, 1992 Photographer Mike Neuveau's (Ironman magazine) son Spencer born

Mar 26, 1949 John Grimek won Mr. USA and Shirley Tegge won Miss USA. This was about five weeks after John had guest posed in New York City at John Terlazzo's show. Otto Arco was present then, as was George Hackenschmidt who spoke to the audience briefly.

At the Mr. USA in Los Angeles, produced by Bert Goodrich and Vic Tanny, a $1,000 prize was offered because this was a pro event. John won, with Clancy Ross in second, then Steve Reeves, George Eiferman, and Armand Tanny completing the top five in that order. Roland Essmaker, ten years after his Mr. America win also competed. This would be John's final bodybuilding competition though he would guest pose after this.

Mar 26, 1950 Homer Chelemengos won Mr. Illinois at Lakeview High School in Chicago. In second place was Jim Park, who would become Mr. America in 1952.

Mar 26, 1966 Vic Nicoletti died. As of May 1942, according to Strength and Health magazine he was training using only dumbbells. Four years later, Feb 9, 1946 he became Mr. New York City, and three years later won the inaugural competition of the Mr. Collegiate. In 1953 he won Mr. Surf Festival. In 1961 he entered the Mr. Past 40 (he was about 42/43) and won. Muscular Development reported his death in the Aug 1966 issue.

Mar 27, 1880 Hector Decarie born; Even after Louis Cyr in his 40s defeated Decarie, Cyr passed along the title to the younger Decarie. Hector died in Montreal on Jun 30, 1954, Two days after Ernest Edwin Coffin died, and four days after Dick DuBois won the Mr. America in Los Angeles.

Mar 27, 1912 Charles A. Smith born; died Jan 28, 1991. CAS as he was sometimes known was an editor for Weider publication from 1950 to 1957, and remains among the best writers in the field of physical culture. He was British, his father's position as a 'dustman' (garbageman) thwarted Charles' attempts to get ahead, at least so CAS thought, and told me. He got a taste of class though, from this taste of class refusal.

Charles suggested putting a section in Joe's mags to feature lifting, which was a sort of paradox: Hoffman resisted bodybuilding and preferred weightlifting in his rival magazine Strength & Health, early on, and Weider chose the neglected audience of bodybuilding and did not feature lifters much. Charles changed that.

After spending several days with CAS in Austin, it appeared to me that he felt somewhat like the stagehands must feel at a major production: were it not for them, there would be NO show, but the applause is never for their ears. Charles left bodybuilding in 1957, and When the sport blossomed in popularity, he felt that the direction the mags were headed was not beneficial. He missed the action. The field misses him.

Mar 27, 1926 H&S reported an incident that had happened 14 years before regarding Apollon's accident while trying to restrain two opposing cars. So in 1912 Apollon suffered a major injury which at his age then (50) all but ended his strength career. So When Thomas Inch said that by the time he met Apollon the latter was past his best, it must have been before 1912 or Inch probably would have mentioned the accident.

Mar 27, 1928 Sig Klein's daughter, Jeanne, born

Mar 27, 1953 Marvin Eder pressed 325 lbs

Mar 28, 1978 Joe Bonomo died; born Dec 25, 1901

INCH 101: Part 7

Thanks to the kindness of David Gentle I have more information about Aston/Inch/ and the challenge bell as offered in the British Amateur Weightlifter and Bodybuilder, the combined Sep/Oct 1950 issue:

On Feb 28, 1913 at the London Weightlifting Club Edward Aston was present, abounding with confidence that he would be able to lift the Inch bell. The way the text reads is that Aston was familiar with what he thought was the challenge bell and was certain he could and would lift it: "Aston made his effort amidst a silence which could be felt. His supporters expected him to lift it easily and were stupefied when it defied his mightiest efforts."

"Aston was distinctly and obviously annoyed, and made no secret of the fact. So much so that he declared THAT IT WAS NOT THE ORIGINAL CHALLENGE DUMB-BELL BUT ONE SPECIALLY PREPARED BY INCH [emphasis mine] for the particular occasion." Does Aston mean that this was a bell he had never seen during his employment with Inch?

The following puzzles me- which lift is meant? Deadlift? "It refused to leave the floor although, as soon as Inch made his onslaught, it seemed to obey his slightest behest."

Then, exactly one month later to the day:

On Friday March 28, 1913, "Mr. Thomas Inch will attempt to break the two hands and one hand anyhow heavyweight weightlifting records at the London Weightlifting Club, North St., just inside Kennington Rd. S.E.. Only a few reserved seats are left unbooked." And it was at this event that Aston had offered to bring his own plate loaded dumbbell for Inch to attempt, and when he adds the determining element perhaps in reference to what had happened on Feb 28, "I will lift my dumb-bell with one hand and lower it with one, and leave it lying there for Inch to follow suit, and shall be glad if he will leave his in a like manner for me to lift." Was this a reference to Feb 28 when Inch switched bells?

Mar 25, 1933 at the Holborn Empire in London for the annual H&S Display Day: Inch was the M.C. "Here comes Thomas Inch before the curtain. What a roar of applause greets him- Inch, holder of three world's records and one British record; Inch, whose famous challenge dumb-bell has never been lifted- though thousands of strong men have tried!".

Surely this does not refer to professional strongmen, but to men who have done some weight training, because there were not in fact thousands of men who were in the business of making an income by strength. It is similar to saying that thousands of men have tried to dunk a basketball with two hands but only a few have done it. Flawed sample. The text continues on page 387 of the Apr 8, 1933 issue of H&S where Inch is listing 40 best tips to increasing strength. In #37:" By studying psychology you will learn to get the last ounce out of yourself when in a tight corner or when records are on the tapis. This was the secret of my famous challenge dumb-bell- no one was ever able to concentrate sufficiently upon a certain set of muscles." If this logic is applied to the professional strongmen whom Inch claims to have failed to lift his 172 lb bell, then Arthur Saxon (according to Inch) must be included, which is a pitiful attempt to disparage one of the greatest mental and physical lifters the world has known. In addition it was but a year or two before this that Inch had experienced hours of delay trying to lift the bell for a second rep when that Pathe Frere film was being shot. Where was the concentrative power then?

Roark Reference #3
David Willoughby's "Strength Through The Ages" series in Strength & Health"
Feb 1961 p 42 Stone age man testing his strength
Apr 1961 p 42 Polydamus kills a lion barehanded
May 1961 p 14 Maximus extracts a mired wagon
Jun 1961 p 14 Thomas Topham
Sep 1961 p 42 Dr. Win[d]ship and his 'health lift'
Nov 1961 p 13 Apollon and his tempered bars
Dec 1961 p 42 Louis Cyr restraining horses
Mar 1962 p 42 Cyclops breaking acoin
Apr 1962 p 17 John Marz breaking a horseshoe
May 1962 p 13 Sandow carrying a pony using only one arm
Aug 1962 p 17 Hackenschmidt's wrestler's bride with 311 lbs
Oct 1962 p 13 Arthur Saxon's bent press with 370 lbs
Nov 1962 p 13 Steinback pressing 310 lbs
Dec 1962 p 25 Swoboda jerking 440 lbs
Feb 1963 p 42 Goerner deadlifting 727.50 lbs with one hand
Apr 1963 p 13 Vansittart holding out four billiard cues
Jun 1963 p 13 Dandurand wheelbarrowing 4,300 lbs
Sep 1963 p 13 Charles Rigoulot one hand snatch 253.50 lbs
Nov 1963 p 13 John Grimek lifting ten pounds on the Weaver Stick
Feb1964 p 20 Steve Stanko pullover with 300 lbs
P 53 Drawing/facts- Jenkins

With no timetable regarding when time will permit me to compose/add other Roark Reference lists, your suggestions are welcomed via the 'comment' button.

Replies: Comments(9)

Joe,re: Norberg, let me clarify, I use the most conservative figure by someone that seems credible. We both know that Karl didn't lift in contests but witnesses like Lolax, Schmidt, Wilhelm, & Patera are credible to me. Lolax repeats 460 as record in Iron Sport 9-90. Re: shoulders --since mine are 20.5 with 47.5 chest, 23 for Clark seems
small for his chest size. If in doubt though, I would go with 23, by my conservative precept above.

Posted by
Dale Harder @ 03/26/2002 04:33 PM CST

I cannot advise you. Your decision to go with the most conservative figure seems to demand no verification other than being the most conservative. While I think I understand what you mean shouldn't some proof other than lowest number be needed; who is to say even that much was lifted?
Regarding Anthony Clark, there is no way his shoulders are 34" wide as I understand they should be measured. Why are you not going with my conservative figure?

Posted by Joe Roark @ 03/25/2002 07:12 PM CST

Joe, Norberg bio by Ed Lolax, his workout partner, is in IM Jy75 p.33 lists 460BP as most notable feat of strength. I don't have the other IM that you referred to, so don't know the author. Who knew Norberg better than Lolax? If there's a disagreement in sources, I always go with the more conservative claim. Please advise.

Posted by Dale Harder @ 03/25/2002 06:20 PM CST

Joe, you mention Anthony Clarke's shoulder width as being only 23" yet Richard Sorin just told me he measured him at 34". I had my wife measure me 3x at top of deltoids, ave. 20.5" and I'm not exceptional--chest only 47.5" normal, 49.5" expanded. How could you guys be 11" apart? 23" sounds too small. What do you think?

Posted by Dale Harder @ 03/25/2002 05:37 PM CST

The photo of Mark walking with the
wooden apparatus is on the page at Arnold's site you visited; scroll to the bottom of the page. There are three small clickable photos.

The 480 lb number for Norberg was from Ironman July 1966 p 43 where a photo of him benching this amount
is claimed, though it is difficult to determine what size/weight four of the plates are.

Posted by Joe Roark @ 03/24/2002 04:15 PM CST

In your Jan.3 article on Norberg-I'd read his max.bp was 460@age 73 per his friend Ed Lolax in bios on Karl in IM and S&H. Did Karl really do a 480? If so, when & where? Thanks--he's the strongest 73-year old I've heard of.

Posted by Dale Harder @ 03/24/2002 02:05 PM CST

Joe, thanks. Went to Arnold's page and looked at photos for every day of March. Tried Feb.--nothing. Also tried contacting them via email, but nothing yet. Sure would like to see that photo--any more ideas? Maybe it'll show up in some magazine?

Posted by Dale Harder @ 03/24/2002 01:49 PM CST

Go to Arnold's website and on the
front page there is a photo of Mark
Henry walking with the apparatus,
which was grasped only with the hands. Scroll down the page to see
Mark. Arnold's site also offers a photo per day- diff photo each day,
so if you wish, click on the calendar for back photos.

Posted by Joe Roark @ 03/22/2002 07:58 PM CST

Thanks for describing the Arnold events. Still trying to visualize the farmer's walk--was the "timber frame" supported solely by the hands, as in a true farmer's walk, or did it rest upon the shoulders or elsewhere?

Posted by Dale Harder @ 03/22/2002 04:43 PM CST