The person who “discovered” Paul Anderson was the late
Bob Peoples, who then held the record for the deadlift at 725 pounds.
At the time Bob met the youthful, natural strongman from Toccoa
Georgia, Paul was living in Tennessee where his father was employed
by the Tennessee Valley Authority. Bob wrote to Strength & Health
in 1952 to report that he had met a 275-pound nineteen year-old who
could squat rather easily with 550 pounds as an exercise and that he
had a best single of 635—more than anyone else in the world had
done at that time!
Peoples listed the following measurements for his protege:
Height 5’10”, weight 275 pounds, neck 21-l/2”, arms 20”, chest 50”,
waist 42”, thighs 33”, and calves 19”. We later learned that Bob had
rounded the height measurement off to the next taller half-inch:
Paul was actually 5’9-l/2” tall. That was Peoples’ only exaggeration.
In a matter of weeks Paul was progressing by leaps and bounds
and had far exceeded the feats originally reported in the January 1953
issue of S&H. Later that same year, the April issue of S&H reported
that Paul had begun testing himself on the three Olympic lifts and
had won the Tennessee state heavyweight championship with 275
press, 225 snatch, and 300 clean and jerk.
More significant he had performed...
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