Bill Kazmaier (born December 30, 1953, in Burlington, Wisconsin) is a former world champion powerlifter, world champion strongman and professional wrestler from the United States. During the 1970s and 80s, he set numerous powerlifting and strongman world records, and won two International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) world championships and three World's Strongest Man titles.
Kazmaier played American football at the University of Wisconsin–Madison from 1973–74, before leaving school to pursue powerlifting full-time.
Powerlifting & Strongman career
In 1978, Kazmaier won the IPF world powerlifting championship and the American powerlifting championship. He won the IPF world championship again in 1983. In 1981, Kazmaier bench pressed 300 kilograms in competition. The 1981 event was the same competition in which he totaled 1,100 kilograms (2,425lbs). His best lifts were: 925lbs squat (done without a suit), 662lbs bench press, 974lbs deadlift. Kazmaier has remained an icon for the lifting fraternity.
Kazmaier won the World's Strongest Man (WSM) title three times in 1980, 1981, and 1982. After these victories, Kazmaier was not invited back to compete in the WSM contest again until 1988, when he finished second to Jón Páll Sigmarsson. He finished fourth in his final WSM appearance in 1989. Kazmaier was the first man to press the Thomas Inch dumbbell and in fact he was only the fifth person to even lift it above the knee, setting this record on October 13, 1990.
Professional wrestling career
Trained by Verne Gagne and Brad Rheingans, Kazmaier began wrestling in 1986. During the 1980s, he had wrestled for promotions such as Stampede Wrestling in Canada and Continental Championship Wrestling in America.
His biggest national exposure came when he debuted for World Championship Wrestling in the summer of 1991. He received several shots at Lex Luger's WCW World Heavyweight Championship but failed to win the title. He also briefly teamed with Rick Steiner, only to lose to The Enforcers in a tournament final for the WCW World Tag Team Championship. While in WCW, Kazmaier also wrestled for New Japan Pro Wrestling.
Kazmaier held no championships in his entire wrestling career.
In NJPW, his theme music was "Poundcake" by Van Halen.
Life after competition
After Kazmaier retired from strongman competition and pro wrestling, he opened a fitness club, Kaz Fitness Center, in Auburn, Alabama. The gym closed in 2005. Kazmaier then opened, and continues to operate, S.W.A.T. gym in Opelika, Alabama.
Kazmaier currently appears on ESPN as a co-commentator for the American broadcast of the annual World's Strongest Man competition along with Todd Harris and 2006 World's Strongest Man winner Phil Pfister. He also does some additional co-commentating in the British broadcast.
"Let bravery be thy choice, but not bravado."
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