2002 Association of Oldetime Barbell & Strongman (AOBS) Dinner - Mark Henry Cleans and Presses the Inch!
Flash Report by Tom Black

Mark Henry becomes the first man to CLEAN and PRESS the Inch Dumbbell!


For those who did not guess what was planned at the dinner Saturday night let me reveal the "secret." It was planned for Mark Henry to Clean and Press an Inch Dumbbell replica, supplied by Richard Sorin. By now, you've probably all seen the picture I took of the results of this amazing feat, but do not know the details.

At the very end of the night Mark prepared for the feat. I'll save for a full article, but Dennis Rodgers, Stanless Steel and Slim "the Hammer Man" Farman also performed. I don't want to diminish their performances by not discussing them now, they were all awesome, but it was clearly Mark Henry's day, and the full description of the show I'll save for later. Henry's feat will span over time as comparing to feats of Apollon, Goerner and Cyr. In fact, I think many historians will need to sit down and ponder the immensity of his feat, and may come to the conclusion that it is the best documented feat of all the legendary performances, and perhaps the most spectacular feat of strength ever performed. Mark lifted the bell clean off the floor, the momentum at the top causing him to stumble back a bit before he regained his composure. The clean off the floor, of course, is the hardest part of the lift. Mark then pressed the 172-pound, thick-handled, bell overhead. Too me it does not matter whether he jerked, push pressed or pressed the bell at this point, but I must admit I watched this part through my camera lens and didn't really analyze what he did at this point. If you look closely at my picture you will see the only other man to have had a replica over head, Bill Kazmaier. He is silently watching the scene, and he supported Mark greatly in his efforts. But let us not forget that Kazmaier, by his own description at the Arnold classic this year, continentaled the dumbbell up his leg and used the force of his leg to flip the dumbbell to his shoulder. Mark set the dumbbell down and then reached down with his left hand and effortlessly picked it up with the handle perfectly parallel with the ground and walked it over to the dignitaries table. He had a defiant look on his face, as if the dumbbell was a lion that he had just slayed with his bare hands. I was greatly impressed by this also, and my jawed dropping enough not to have the presence of mind to get a picture of this feat. I have never seen anyone handle an inch dumbbell replica without the handle angled to the floor.

Perhaps the best testimony to Mark was Richard Sorin's reaction. After Mark's performance he had an amazed look on this face. This from a man who has lifted the dumbbell countless times. Also, no-one from the grip table was able to get the bell off the floor after the performance (Besides Richard Sorin) and at least seven Captains of Crush tried. Those at the table were admittedly wore out from closing various #3 grippers over the course of the night. I lifted the bell with two hands and was able to hold it then with 1 hand for a satisfactory bit of time (maybe 5 seconds), which seemed to have impressed onlookers.

Let me discuss the fun at the grip table, described by many passersby's as the liveliest table at the dinner. There was a huge amount of bending and crushing going on, with everyone comparing their grippers, including the famous "Phantom 4," a name that Randy Strossen seems to have also adopted as he referred to it numerous times. Riot grip (Greg  D'Eramo) closed my #3 gripper. Apparently, he was about 1/16" away on his and my slightly easier number 3 got him over the top. We called Randy Strossen over and he certified him after another close and a picture. I also snapped a shot for the grip board. In my picture you will see the first Captain of Crush, Richard Sorin, and the newest Captain of Crush. I believe this is the first shot of this kind. Actually, there are a total of 6 captains of crush in the picture! I think it symbolizes that the grip world will support each other in our fraternity.  I was anxious about attempting a close for Strossen, I closed my #3 for the first time the Wednesday before the dinner, but I held my wrist to stabilize the gripper. I figured I was 1/16" from a clean close and witnesses' said that's what I did for Randy Strossen, but when I turned the gripper to look at it slipped back to 1/8" and I believe that's when Randy Strossen snapped the shot.

Pat began bending steel soon after this. First, he did a "warm-up" spiral 60-penny and then an Ironmind blue cut to 4.5" inches (but I might not be remembering this length correctly, I went to bed at 2:45am last night). He didn't bend it easy, but the bar gave away nevertheless. I was inspired to try some bending, even though I planned not to bend until I closed the number 3 under certified conditions. I tore through one of Pat's warm-ups and asked Heath Sexton to cut an inch off of one of these spiral nails. You may wonder how he cut the nail, well, they brought bolt cutters! I remarked to Richard Sorin that Pat and Heath were a bit crazy, he looked wide eyed at me and agreed. I bent the 5" 60-penny fairly well, probably about the same as Pat did with the Ironmind blue at 4.5". I also bent another full 60-penny for Steve Weiner to video tape. I laughed as I bent it because it was so much easier than the 5" piece. Steve seemed impressed by the speed in which I bent the nail.

Somewhere in all this Pat and Heath put on some other shows. First, Pat did a close of two number 3 grippers, one in his right and one (mine) in his left. Randy Strossen and I both snapped the shot. I also caught the tail end of Heath repping my number 3. He did 15 reps (yikes). As a cool down, Heath repped my IronMind #3 15-reps, holy cow.  Randy Strossen mentioned to be a record (editor's note: I think it is a WORLD RECORD!). He's never heard of anyone doing that many reps.  Keep in mind that Pat and Heath worked out Friday night with the grippers, and Heath probably closed various number 3's 20 times before this performance. Somewhere in all of this he attempted the number 4 with Randy Strossen taking a picture, but all the other crushing took its toll and he could "only" bring the number 4 to 1/4". And I'm told did as well on the phantom 4 (Richard Sorins, 621IP gripper).With the proper conditions of a more reasonable "warm-up" Heath will close this gripper.

There is so much more, and the grip table closed the place down as we were kicked out of the room. Randy Strossen was in the hall and I remarked to John Hicks that I could bend behind my back as easily as my front but couldn't finish the bends. I asked Dr. Strossen to watch and I bent the nail behind my back and finished it out in front. I looked at my watch and it was around 1:15am! To say that my arms are sore is an understatement, and everyone remarked that theirs felt the same. That's all for now.

Tom Black

(Editor's note: Stay Tuned for more reports, more pictures, and video clips from the Dinner)

Updated by The Editor (6/23/02) - Here is more info as Pat and Heath saw the action:

From Patrick Povilaitis:

Still a bit sleepy, but I just wanted to mention that Heath was under 1/8" on the Phantom 4 the first time. About 1/8" the second time. Then after everything was said and done (15 reps on the #3, compared to my measly 4 reps) he held the coil of the Phantom at the prompting of Dr. Strossen and you would be hard pressed to slide a credit card between the handles. Fresh, Heath would own that gripper as well as his #4.

Oh, did anyone mention that Heath MASHED Richard's original Silvercrush gripper twice and held it for about 15 seconds each time? Well he did, and I believe Richard was IMPRESSED. A great time was had by all, thanks to everyone. Off to Iron Island today, watch out Blob!

From Heath Sexton:

I just want to add, Pat scared people! He put on an awesome bending display, he hit the weak 60, blue @ 6", BLUE @ 4.5"!!!!!!!! Then he was taken hostage by Stanless Steel and Dennis Rodgers. He put a nice bend in a 10"x3/8" HARDEND nail, WOW. Dennis and Stanless were VERY impressed, Dennis said that he couldn't put a kink in the nail. When you impress people like Richard Sorin, Dennis, Stanless, and a host of CoC's, I think that says a lot.

Pat's gripper display consisted of, killing a #3, closing and holding a #3 for 35 secs with 3 fingers, missing a 2 finger by 1/8", twice, and BARELY missing a double close, barely. He probably closed the #3 20 or more times last night. Awesome display.

Steve aka 3Crusher, barely missed his hard #3, which is a real monster, and he barely missed a 3 finger close lefty.

I had a super time, I really can't describe it. Sitting and talking to Mr. Sorin was just an honor, what a guy. My Mastery of Hand Strength is now autographed by some of the greats in this game, thank you all!

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