Strongest Man

IN HIS EARLY 20’s, Paul Anderson of Toccoa, Georgia ranged in weight from 300 pounds to 360 pounds. Not only was he one of the biggest men around, but he was unquestionably the strongest man on earth. The powerful 5-foot, 10-inch Georgian had wrists that measured nine inches around. His neck was a burly 23 inches in circumference.

Anderson was the first man in history who could press, as the weight lifters say it (that is, lift from the floor to above his head), a barbell of 400 pounds. Among other feats, Paul could do three knee bends in succession while he carried a 900-pound barbell across his shoulders. He powered his way to an Olympic championship as an amateur.

On June 12, 1957, Paul Anderson, then a professional weight lifter, established himself as the superman of the age. He placed a steel safe full of lead on a specially-made table, and then loaded the remaining surface with bars of heavy auto parts. He then crawled under the table and placed his hands on a stool to support himself. Then, elevating his back, he lifted the table inches off the floor-a weight of 6,270 pounds!

Three tons is just about the weight of two good-sized automobiles. Or to put it another way, Anderson lifted the combined weight of all the players on a 33-man college football team.