John Y. Smith     

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John Y. Smith

From “Mighty Men of Old” Vol. I (n.d.) (Author unknown)

John Y. Smith

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“On a full-rigged sailing ship neath salt sprayed decks and creaking canvas, John Y. Smith first saw the light of day.  Born in 1866, on a sailing ship out of Boston, John Y. became America’s strongest man, the first man to smash one of mighty Cyr’s records with a right hand bent press of 275½ pounds.  With the left arm, he bent pressed 248, which was the American record and it stood off challengers for many years.

This mighty old timer, one of the “Fathers of American Weightlifting: remained in the sport longer than any one man, for in 1926, at the age of 60 he won the New England Strongest Man Championship against huskies less than half his age.  Now at the age of 75, he can still press around the 175-pound mark.

It seems that many old timers can keep their pressing ability near the marks set in their younger days, while the snatch and clean suffer due to loss of speed and agility in the legs.  Karl Schilberg of Austria was the oldest competitor at the Olympic Games in ‘36 being 52 years old, he pressed 286 pounds.  At the age of 50 he pressed 290.  Strassberger was 47 years old when he pressed 293.  Swoboda pressed his 330 (Continental style) when he was 42 years old.  Steinbach, at the age of 40, could press over 300.”

(c)Mighty Men of Old

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