Category: Biographies

Guest Post: The History of the Triathlon

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Since Triathlon originates from the beginning of the 20th century and since it gained it’s popularity much later, in the mid-1970s, it is safe to say it’s a pretty modern sport. Looking at this facts, many people would say that it hasn’t got much of a history, and that is partly true. Its history is not particularly deep, but on the other hand, it is full of various interesting facts for loyal fans or future participants. Let’s take a look, shall we?

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The Rise and Fall of the World Muscle Power Classic

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Admit it. We’re somewhat spoilt for choice these days when it comes to contests of strength. Though not as well televised as some of us might like, myself included, strongmen competitions have grown exponentially over the past decade and a half. We have the World’s Strongest Man (WSM) and its various qualifying rounds around the globe. We have fiercely contested domestic competitions and even contests in your local gym should you be so lucky.

Time was, that this was not the case. Indeed for a long period, the world of strongmen had but two real contests to look forward to, that is the WSM and the World Muscle Power Classic (WMPC). Showing my nostalgic side, today’s post will examine the rise and fall of the WMPC, a strongman competition that for a brief period, was every bit as contested as the WSM.

World’s Strongest Man and the Crunch Bunch or ‘Are Strongmen Athletes?’

Nice muscles, what can you do with them? A common question and also the title for a series of YouTube challenges well worth watching.

The underlying point remains however. Are men and women of muscle athletes? Can they challenge others athletically or are they simply lumbering oafs? While anyone who watches World Strongest Man will testify to the athletic abilities of these men, the common man or woman may be dubious. Imagine then the wonder of 1988 when a rag tag bunch of strongmen donned American football uniforms and set off against the Glasgow Diamonds. The ‘Crunch Bunch’ as they were termed compromised some of the world’s strongest men, and undoubtedly the scariest defensive line in recent memory. This is their story.

Dennis B. Weis, A Seminar with Frank Zane (1977)

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The following interview took place with the legendary Frank Zane during the bodybuilder’s preparation for that year’s Mr. Olympia, a competition Zane won by the day. Detailing Frank’s workout, nutrition and mental preparation, it offers a valuable insight into the career of one of bodybuilding’s most recognisable characters. Enjoy!

Lee Moran And the Thousand Pound Squat

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Who was the first man to legitimately squat 1,000 lbs.? Its a simple question, with a disputed answer. As covered previously on this site, Dave Waddington was credited with a 1,013 lbs. squat in 1981. There was just one problem. No officials had seen Dave’s efforts, meaning that his squat although impressive, was relegated to hearsay.

It took until 1984 for an official 1,000 lbs. squat to hit the record books and despite what you may have guessed, it wasn’t Waddington who did it.

Sports Illustrated, ‘Titans of Testosterone’, 1999 World’s Strongest Man Article.

Titans Of Testosterone The (mostly) juiced-up athletes competing for the title of World’s Strongest Man tote stones, toss kegs and tow trucks for puny paychecks and the glory of exposure on late-night cable TV

By Jack McCallum

You see them at all hours of the day and night, lifting cars,
pulling buses, lugging around absurdly large rocks. They are big
men with big arms, big chests, big shoulders, big legs and
sometimes big bellies; sweaty, scary men trussed in bandages and
harnesses and belts; gargantuan mummies come eye-poppingly to
life. They compete in something called World’s Strongest Man
(hereafter WSM), and their esoteric exercitations are replayed
with numbing frequency on ESPN and ESPN2. But it’s
difficult–particularly at 4:30 in the morning–to wrap your
mind around this whole strongman thing. You have questions.

Bigger Faster Stronger: The Mr. Olympia

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Bodybuilders, like most other professional athletes in the last four decades, have undergone an unprecedented change. Whereas the first Mr. Olympia weighed in at just over 200 lbs, the modern champion is more likely to be sixty pounds heavier and leaner as well.

While the reasons for this, at least in bodybuilding, are clear, it is still interesting to reflect upon this change. Today’s short post discusses the average weight for the overall Mr. Olympia since it’s inception and shows how and when ‘the mass monsters’ gained a foothold in the sport.

Reg Lewis – Norman Williams’ Arm Routine (Muscle Power 1962)

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Big Norman Williams is all set to break the big biceps tape of 20 1/2 inches none filled by Leroy Colbert. Can he do it? Norm thinks these unusual exercises which he now uses will do the trick. What do you think?

I saw Norm Williams again, just recently… the first time in five years…and it was almost impossible to believe that he is the same guy. What a terrific muscular transformation he has wrought in his physique in that brief time. Twenty-nine year old Norm today stands 6′ 1″ tall and scales an even 220…his magnificent chest tapes a huge 51 inches… his strong, well-muscled waist is still an incredible 30 inches…but those arms! Lookout, Leroy Colbert…Norm’s out to getcha! Right now Norm’s arms almost burst the tape at 19 1/2 inches and they’re still growing!

The Amazing Physique Of A. Schwarzenegger & How He Developed It (1967 Article)

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Published in Iron Man Magazine in 1967 by Arnold’s friend Albert Busek, the following article details Arnold’s rise to fame alongside his working routine of the time. A fine biography and reminder that even during the 60s, people marvelled at the Austrian’s successes.

JUST a short year ago his name was still generally unknown, but on October 30, 1965, in Stuttgart, his meteoric rise to international fame began.

However, let us review his story from the very beginning. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947, the son of police inspector Gustav Schwarzenegger and his wife, Aurelia. As a child he was taken along by his father to curling contests, and very soon the desire to emulate his father’s interest in sports awakened in him. At the same time he realised that that wouldn’t be a very easy thing to do, for his father was – and still is – an outstanding sportsman. Among other things, his father was the European title holder in distance curling, and several times he won awards as state champion in gymnastics and calisthenics. In his early efforts to achieve distinction in athletics, Arnold had to content himself with a merely average performance, and was very disappointed in this result. That happened in February, 1962, at the Graz City Championship in Distance Curling for Juniors. Arnold only won sixth place. For the son of a well-known sportsman that was naturally an unfortunate start, but Arnold was simply too weak to assert himself against the best performers. Thus, for the moment, his drive to reach the top came to a sudden halt.