Paul Edward Anderson

Paul Edward Anderson

Paul Edward Anderson (October 17, 1932 – August 15, 1994) was an Olympic Weightlifter, strongman, and professional powerlifter.

Anderson was born in Toccoa, Georgia, United States of America.

As a teenager, Anderson began his early weight training on his own within his family's backyard at Toccoa, Georgia in order to increase his size and strength so that he would be able to play on the Toccoa High School football team, where Anderson earned a position as first-team blocking back. [ American Strength Legends - Paul Anderson]

Anderson later attended Furman University for one year on a football scholarship, before moving to Elizabethton, Tennessee with his parents and it was there in Elizabethton where Anderson first met weightlifter Bob Peoples, who would greatly influence Anderson in squat training and introduce Anderson around weightlifting circles. [ American Strength Legends - Paul Anderson]

In 1955, at the height of the Cold War, Anderson, as winner of the USA National Amateur Athletic Union Weightlifting Championship, traveled to the Soviet Union, where weightlifting was a popular sport, for an international weightlifting competition. In a newsreel of the event shown in the United States the narrator, Bud Palmer, commented as follows: "Then, up to the bar stepped a great ball of a man, Paul Anderson." And paraphrasing Palmer "The Russians snickered as Anderson gripped the bar which was set at 402.5 pounds, an unheard of lift. But their snickers quickly changed to awe and all out cheers as up went the bar and Anderson lifted the heaviest weight overhead of any human in history." Prior to Anderson's lift, the Russian champion, Medvedev, had matched the Olympic record of the time with a 330.5 pound press. Anderson then did a 402.5 pound press. During the 1955 World Championships in Munich, Germany that October, Anderson also broke two other world records (for the press - 407.7 pounds - and total weight cleared - 1129.5 pounds) as he easily won the competition in his weight class to become world champion. Upon his return to the USA, he was received by then vice-president Richard Nixon, who thanked him for being such a wonderful goodwill ambassador.

In 1956 he won a gold medal in a long, tough duel in the Melbourne, Australia Olympic Games as a weightlifter in the super-heavyweight class (while suffering from a 104 degree fever). Paul was tied with Argentinian Humberto Selvetti in the amount of weight lifted, but because Anderson weighing 137.9 kilograms, was lighter than Selvetti, who weighed 143.5 kilograms, Anderson was awarded the medal.

Anderson turned professional after the 1956 Summer Olympics at a fairly early age and many of his feats of strength, while generally credible, were not done under rigorous enough conditions to be 'official'. Nevertheless, he was at one time listed in the "Guinness Book of World Records" for a backlift of 6270 pounds.

Anderson could not compete in the 1960 Olympics because he had been ruled a professional for accepting money for some of his weight lifting and strength exhibitions. In the 1960 Olympics the Russian heavyweight Yury Vlasov beat Paul Anderson's records set at the 1956 Olympics. A short time later, not to be outdone by the Russian and to verify his position as World's Strongest Man, Anderson lifted the same weight as the Russian three times in quick succession demonstrating unbelievable strength.

In 1959, Paul Anderson married Glenda Garland. The couple, devout Christians, founded the Paul Anderson Youth Home, a home for troubled youth in Vidalia, Georgia in 1961, which was supported by Paul's speaking engagements and strength exhibitions. They had one child, Paula, born in 1966.

As a child, Anderson suffered from Bright's Disease, a kidney disorder, and eventually died from kidney disease. He weighed between 350-375 lb and was only convert|5|ft|9|in|m tall (some sources say 5' 10" or even 5' 8").

tatistics and lifts

One arm overhead press: convert|300|lb|abbr=on

Standard clean and press: convert|402.5|lb|abbr=on

Parallel squat: convert|1202|lb|abbr=on, two reps (unverified)

Backlift: 6,270 Lbs (weight raised slightly off tressles)

Bench Press (Raw): convert|627|lb|abbr=on


*Anderson, Paul (with Jerry B. Jenkins). The World's Strongest Man Victor Books, Wheaton, IL. 1975 ISBN 0-88207-651-5
*Strossen, Randal J. Paul Anderson: The Mightiest Minister Ironmind Enterprises, Inc., Nevada City, CA 1999 ISBN 0-926888-08-0

External links

* [ The Paul Anderson Youth Home]
* [ Article on Anderson by Clarence Bass]
* [ Paul Anderson, Hall of Fame at Lift Up]
* [ Article on Anderson at the Univ. of Georgia website]

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