Paul Anderson's 70th birthday would have been today, Oct 17, 2002:
Paul Anderson was born on October 17, 1932, so this would have been his 70th birthday, had he not passed away on Aug 15, 1994, just a couple months before his 62nd birthday.
In modern lifting history, no lifter has a more misunderstood record than Paul Anderson. This is sometimes due to much confusion on the weights of his lifts, and whether those lifts were official or unofficial, and whether the implements lifted were standard barbells and dumbbells, or were other objects.
In round numbers, here are his most famous lifts which were performed in contests, using weighed apparatus, scrutinized by the eyes of judges, and keenly watched by fans full of verve and knowledge about lifting:
1. Sep 05, 1953 352 lbs at All Dixie in Chattanooga, TN, age 20
2. Dec 11, 1954 364 lbs at All Dixie in Atlanta, GA, age 22
3. Feb 12, 1955 375 lbs at National Capitol Open, Washington, DC, age 22
4. Apr 16, 1955 385.5 lbs at All South in High Point, NC, age 22
5. Apr 16, 1955 402 lbs at All South in High point, NC, age 22
6. Apr 22, 1955 403.5 lbs at John Terlazzo's show in NYC, age 22
7. Oct 16, 1955 408.9 lbs at World championships in Munich, Germany, age 22
8. Jun 02, 1956 335 lbs at Senior Nationals in Philadelphia, PA, age 23
CLEAN & JERK:
9. Apr 16, 1955 425.25 lbs at All South in High Point, NC, age 22
10. Apr 22, 1955 434 lbs at John Terlazzo's show in NYC, age 22
11. Jun 05, 1955 436.5 lbs at Senior Nationals in Cleveland, OH age 22
12. Jun 02, 1956 440 lbs at Senior Nationals in Philadelphia, PA, age 23
13. Nov 07, 1953 1,065 lbs at Hoffman's birthday show in York, PA, age 21
14. Feb 12, 1955 1,100 lbs at National Capitol Open in Washington, DC, age 22
15. Apr 16, 1955 1,142.5 lbs at All South in High Point, NC, age 22
16. Jun 05, 1955 1,145 lbs at Senior Nationals in Cleveland, OH, age 22
17. Jun 02, 1956 1,150 lbs at Senior Nationals in Philadelphia, PA, age 23
18. Jun 02, 1956 1,175 lbs at Senior Nationals in Philadelphia, PA, age 23
So, his 3 world records were:
Oct 16, 1955 408.9 lbs press
Jun 05, 1955 336.5 lbs snatch
Oct 16, 1955 1,129.5 lbs total
All of Paul's records were set when he was aged 20 to 23, in a time period of approximately 34 months from Sep 5, 1953 to Jun 02, 1956. He had increased his press by about 57 lbs in 23 months, and his C&J by about 15 lbs in 14 months, and his total by 110 lbs in 31 months.
The above lifts represent the best of what Paul did in official competition on the three Olympic lifts.
His press record was broken by Gary Gubner on Jan 16, 1965 in Philadelphia when Gary managed 412 lbs. Paul's press record of 408.9 lbs stood for ten years.
His snatch record was broken by Norbert Schemansky on Jan 14, 1961 in Philadelphia when Ski lifted 343.5 lbs. Paul's snatch record of 336.5 lbs stood for 5.5 years
His C&J record was broken by Dave Ashman on May 15, 1960 in Tucson, AZ with a lift of 444.25 lbs. Paul's C&J record of 440 lbs stood for 4 years.
So Paul's records fell one by one until they were surpassed, but that required TEN YEARS to happen, a wonderful compliment to his strength.
Now, the era of weightlifting following Anderson is not my strong suit, so if anyone reading this has a correction, please let us know. Of course, you do not suspect that I would allow an error above simply to spark debate, do you? Hmmm…Does this mean that before you reply you'll have to do some homework?
Confusion about Paul's strength levels enters when discussing his unofficial lifting. It is my opinion that Paul was the greatest squatter the sport has seen, especially considering than he was using weights which would be loaded onto other lifter's bars just for a joke photo or similar situation. Paul's problem was finding enough space on the bar to load the plates he could lift. He did not use the silly assistance equipment that is in vogue today, and most people think that he lifted without the benefit of chemical assistance.
Here is a chronology of some parts of Paul's life:
Jan 07, 1918 Julius M. Johnson born; would marry Paul's sister Dot on Feb 23, 1944
Oct 17, 1932 a Monday, Paul Anderson was born in Toccoa, GA.
July 1934 family moved to near Franklin, NC
1937 moved to Murphy, NC; attended school at Reeds Chapel Elementary and Jr. High. Spent some time in the hospital due to Bright's disease.
1941 family moved back to Toccoa, GA.
Aug 12, 1942 a Wednesday, Glenda Garland was born; would later marry Paul.
Feb 23, 1944 Paul's sister Dot marries Julius Johnson
Oct 17, 1947 In Reno, Nevada, the Mapes Hotel opens (where Paul would debut as a professional strongman in 1957)
1950 Paul attends college at Furman, in Greenville, SC
1951 moved to Elizabethton, TN until Jul 1954
Spring 1952 began to take weight training seriously, and the face of weightlifting in America would soon change as it had never changed before.
To be continued.