Strange But True: Heave-Ho!

In Olympic weight lifting, there are three basic kinds of lifts: the military press, the snatch, and the clean-and-jerk.

In the military press, the lifter hoists the barbell to his shoulders or neck and holds it there for a few seconds. Then he raises the weights over his head.

The snatch is executed in one continuous movement. The lifter brings the barbell up high while the official counts 1…2.

The clean-and-jerk is like the military press, except that the lifter does not have to keep his toes on a line and is permitted to bend his knees during the lift.

Paul Anderson, an extraordinarily powerful man, weighed well over 300 pounds. He stood 5-foot-10. His wrist measured 9 inches around, his neck 23 inches. Anderson won the Olympic weight-lifting gold medal in 1956 in the heavyweight class. Shortly afterward he turned professional. On June 12, 1957, Anderson proved he was the strongest man in the world.

First, he had a table constructed that could stand up under tremendous weight. On top of the table was placed a steel safe. Just to add some additional pounds, a few heavy automobile parts were added. The total weight was 6,270 pounds.

Anderson knelt under the table. He placed his hands on a small stool for added support. Then he got his back under the table and lifted it a couple of inches off the ground.

To appreciate Anderson’s feat, it should be noted that two old-fashioned, heavy, gas-guzzling station wagons would weigh about the same as the tonnage Anderson lifted.

From The Giant Book of More Strange But True Sports Stories by Howard Liss. Illustrations by Joe Mathieu.

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1 Comment

  1. Seems that Anderson’s lift was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records in 1985, but pulled the following year.  If you’re interested in an explanation as to why, the pdf link above goes into detail about how completely convoluted and screwed up the whole verification of his lift was.  Basically, there were so many inconsistencies that Guinness couldn’t reconcile them so they pulled it the following year.

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