History of Olympic Weightlifting
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Time Magazine, Monday, Jul. 17, 1939
Steve Stanko wanted to be an interior decorator but his father, a Hungarian immigrant, put him to work in an iron foundry close by their home in Perth Amboy, N. J. There two years ago Physical Culturist Bob Hoffman noticed brawny young Stanko, offered him a job in his barbell foundry at York, Pa., promised to make him the strongest man in the world.
Last week, after two years in Body-Builder Hoffman's gymnasium-lifting the bar bells he helped manufacture*-20-year-old Steve Stanko, standing 6 feet tall and weighing 220 Ibs., was recognized as the No. 1 strongman of the U. S. Competing in the national weight-lifting championships at Chicago, against the pick of some 1,000,000 U. S. residents who lift bar bells for exercise, Stanko made all the other contestants look like parlor performers.
U. S. weight-lifting championships are decided in eight divisions, from 112 Ib. to heavyweight. Champions are determined by their ability in three events: the two-hand military press, the two-hand snatch and the two-hand clean & jerk-in each of which a bar bell is picked off the floor with both hands and raised overhead by different procedures. The total poundage heaved in the three lifts constitutes a contestant's score-unless a lift is nullified because of bad form.
When Steve Stanko took his turn last week he made the judges' eyes pop. In the press, he lifted 270 Ibs., for a new U. S. record. In the snatch, he raised 280 Ibs., for another U. S. record. When his score was tallied, Bar Bellman Stanko not only won the U. S. heavyweight championship but broke a third U. S. record with a total of 895.
Only one weight-lifter in the world has ever scored a larger total: Josef Manger of Germany, 1936 Olympic champion and twice (1937-38) world's champion.
*A bar bell-an iron rod seven feet long with removable iron discs on each end (so that weights can be increased or decreased)-is the yardstick of a strongman's brawn.
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