Thought it would be fun to post about some of the strength athletes of yesterday........in the time when Raw benching was the norm.
Born in Pascagoula Mississippi, Joe Ladnier rocketed straight to the top of powerlifting in short order. A teenage phenomenon and later a legendary senior powerlifter, Joe Ladnier was simply put massive. He is one of the few powerlifters who also successfully competed in bodybuilding at a high level. Unlike today's bodybuilders, Joe had lots of strength evidenced by best recorded lifts of a 960 pound squat, a 628 pound bench, a deadlift of 832 pounds and a total of 2160 pounds. He was the first man ever to beat the 2100 pound barrier in 220 pound class. Joe Ladnier worked for Larry Pacifico and trained with him for many years. American Strength Legends and World Strength Legends proudly presents a profile of the legendary Joe Ladnier.
Date of Birth: September 8, 1956
Weight: 198 pounds
Chest: 50 inches
Arms: 19.5 inches
Waist: 33 inches
It would be easy to get bogged down by the numbers and statistics when one analyzes Gene Bell's career in powerlifting. After all, he has accumulated six IPF Open World Championships, one IPF World Masters Championship, one Worlds Games Championship and ten USPF Senior National Championships. He is the current IPF world record in the Men´s Master I (40-49) 90 kilo bodyweight division for the squat, bench press and total. In addition, he is the current world record holder in the Men´s Master I (40-49) 100 kilo bodyweight division for the squat. The USAPL American record squat and total in the 100 kilo division for Men's Masters I is also held by Gene Bell. He also currently holds the USPF squat record in the 82.5 kilo open class for both the squat and the total. The titles, the records and the trophies are only the surface representations of a man who was so very dominant in the sport for a great deal of time. When he is not competing, Gene stays very active in the sport as the state chair of North Dakota for the USAPL. Now, he is focusing his life on his family and his career in the Air Force. Gene plans on returning to the platform at the IPF World Masters Championships in October in South Africa. American Strength Legends is proud to present Gene Bell.
Anthony Clark, as anyone who has met him can testify, is perhaps one of the most quiet and unassuming men on Earth. Anthony Clark is something unique now in the sport. A man who does most of his "talking" by lifting on the platform. Probably pigeon-holed by many as simply a fantastic bench presser, Anthony Clark is a great three lift powerlifter. Anthony Clark has used his unique reverse grip bench press style to hold the current all-time bench press world record. This lift is also a topic of heated debate by many in the powerlifting world. When pressed for a reply, Anthony shrugs and says, "There's always next time when I beat that record too." However quiet Anthony may be in person, his list of accomplishments yell loudly for all to hear. A brief synopsis of his powerlifting-related accomplishments follow below:
Some of Anthony Clark's accomplishments
First teen to Bench Press 600 pounds 1986
A 1025 pound squat 1988
First man to reverse grip ench press 700 pounds 1992
First man to bench press over 700 pounds
800 pound bench press record at the Arnold Classic 1997
1031 pound squat
World record powerlifting total of 2600 pounds
He has successfully benched 700 pounds or greater 17 times in competition
Talks to youth and spreads the meaning of the gospel sometimes up to 270 days a year
Before Steroids destroyed the sport we had great champions like this!
Gold Medal Olympian
Born: 1921 Mr. John Davis won gold medals in the heavyweight division at the 1948 and 1952 Olympic Games, and is one of only 12 weightlifters to have won two Olympic championships. From 1938 to 1953, Davis broke 19 world records, won 12 national titles and a Pan American Games gold medal. He was also the subject of the first Olympic-related film made by legendary filmmaker Bud Greenspan. The film, made in 1952, was entitled "The Strongest Man in the World."
John Davis Career Highlights
1938 World Champion in Weightlifting at age 17
1948 Gold Medallist at the Olympic games with
2 Arm Press: 137.5 kg
2 Arm Snatch: 137.5 kg
2 Arm Clean and Jerk: 177.5 kg
Total: 452.5 kg
1952 Gold Medallist at the Olympic Games
2 Arm Press: 150 kg
2 Arm Snatch: 145 kg
2 Arm Clean and Jerk: 165 kg
Total: 460 kg
Mr. John Davis
By Clarence Bass
Ever heard of John Davis? Probably not, unless you were on the scene in the '40s & '50s. Davis was called the "Strongest Man In The World" when he won the Olympic heavyweight weightlifting gold medal at the 1948 and 1952 Games. He won his first world championship in 1938, at 17, and went undefeated in 15 years of national, international and Olympic competition.
I discovered John Davis in the mid-50s when his glory days were ending, and I was just beginning my love affair with the barbell. I only saw Davis lift once, his last appearance on the lifting platform at the 1956 Olympic trials. It was not a happy time for the mighty one. I'll never forget it. He tore a ligament in his knee attempting to clean close to 400 pounds and had to be carried off the stage on a stretcher.
His knee popped and he collapsed on the floor in a heap. It was an unpleasant ending to a lifting career that will probably never be equaled.
What brings back these memories is a 1986 article by famed Olympic Games documentary maker Bud Greenspan reprinted in the April 1997 issue of the newsletter of the Association of Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen. Greenspan, writing in Sports Illustrated, tells of his first meeting with Davis, as a 21-year-old New York City radio station sports director, and how Davis became the subject of his first film.
It was called "The Strongest Man in the World." They became friends, and Greenspan tells of his many subsequent contacts with John Davis and how, like me, he was saddened by the final photo of a pajama-clad Davis in an Albuquerque nursing home dying of cancer. It's a wonderful story - including photos of Davis becoming only the third man to lift the Appollon Railway Wheels - about the career of one of America's greatest athletes.