Norbert Schemansky Marathon. The Legend Turns 91.
On May 30, 2015, one of the greatest athletes in the history of Olympic weightlifting, Norbert Schemansky will turn 91.
His family contacted us via the Lift Up project about the upcoming celebration and we would like to ask you to share your memories of the Legend and to send him birthday messages via Norbert Schemansky or by submitting comments below.
I doubt that Schemansky needs any introductions to anyone who followed the Iron Game. Medal winner at four Summer Olympics in 1948, 1952, 1960 and 1964, 3-times world champion, Schemansky was a legendary athlete with a long lasting international level career.
As part of celebration of Mr. Schemansky’s legacy in sports, we offer a re-print of the “Norbert Schemansky And How He Changed the Shape of Weightlifting” by Dresdin Archibald, Canada, 2010.
Whenever lifting enthusiasts gather the talk can often turn to the influence of bodyweight on performance. Does it always help to get bigger? Less often discussed is longevity. Lower age limits are often discussed but what about the other end. How long can a lifter remain competitive? With the advent of Masters lifting this point is now discussed more frequently.
There are some names that are always mentioned when the talk turns to elite performances made past age 35. Iran’s Muhmoud Namdjou was still medalling at age 40. Vasily Alexeev won his last title at 35 while Teranenko was a 35 year old Olympian. There are other examples but the best one still stands head and shoulders above all others. That man is Norbert Schemansky of Dearborn, Michigan, USA who I believe was the inspiration for the establishment of the 90 and 110 kg categories as well as the entire Masters program for the over-35s.
Norbert Schemansky was born on March 31, 1924 in Detroit, Michigan. He is of Polish extraction and like most Poles, he liked nothing better than to beat the Russians. While I don’t know the exact details an educated guess would have his grandfather (he has been described as a 3rd generation American) emigrating from a Polish part of one of the old German, Austro-Hungarian or Russian Empires sometime between 1870 and 1914.
They probably settled in Detroit’s large Polish community and perhaps came to work Ford’s River Rouge plant in neighbouring Dearborn.
Early on he was nicknamed “the Ol’ Professor” due to his receding hairline, glasses, scholarly demeanour, and if they knew him well, his IQ of 132. The only dis-similarity was that most profs that I remember from my university days never had forearms like his.
The family ended their name with the more Ukrainian “Y” instead of the “I” usually preferred by the Poles. Despite that his second nickname was then always rendered as “Ski” which is what I will call him in this paper so as to save some typing effort.
That said it behoves me now to give a narrative on his long career with an emphasis on his bodyweight and age and how he defied the experts on both for over twenty years. He stared at age fifteen, training with his older brother Dennis. He did some shot-putting in high school and then spent two years with Uncle Sam in Europe trying to bring Hitler to heel. Ski returned home in late 1945.”
Continue to the full article @ Lift Up .
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