Category Archives: USAWA Daily News

HOF BIO – John Grimek

By Al Myers

(Webmasters Note: Over the next month I will be running a series of biography blogs covering all past USAWA Hall of Fame members.  These bios will be added to the history section, under Hall of Fame.)

HALL OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

JOHN GRIMEK – CLASS OF 1993

GrimekHOF1John Grimek – This photo is from the cover of the February, 1969 issue of Muscular Development.

John Grimek was born June 17, 1910 in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He got his interest in weightlifting and body building from his older brother George. John stated that his brother was bigger and stronger than he was, but just didn’t have the interest in the Iron Game that he had. John’s first competition in weightlifting was in 1934 where he took a first place as a heavy weight in New Jersey with a total of 710 pounds. Later that same year he entered his first National meet in Brooklyn. His press of 242.5 pounds was the highest of the meet. However he failed to total due to his lack of training in the snatch and clean and jerk. The following year he placed second to Bill Good in a five lift meet with a total of 1,072 pounds. The five lifts were the one hand snatch, the clean and jerk which had to be done with the opposite hand used in the snatch, the two hands press, snatch and the clean and jerk.

John then moved to York PA. to improve his training. In the 1936 National meet in Philadelphia he pressed 285.5 pounds, snatched 220 pounds, and clean and jerked 308 pounds. He placed first in the heavy weight class while weighing just two pounds over the light heavy limit. His press was a National record. Later the same year he competed in the Olympics in Germany. Though he did not place he lifted more than any other American lifter. In 1937 he reduced to the light heavy weight class for the Sr. National meet in Detroit. In this meet he was to light and was not at his best. But in 1938 he won the Jr. National meet with an 810 pound total in the light heavy weight class. At this time, before physique contest were added to the lifting meets, John continued to compete in lifting. In 1938 still lifting as a light heavy weight he made a total of 830 pounds. (261 press, 245 snatch, and a 325 clean and jerk). John’s best meet was in the 1940 Sr. National meet held in Madison Square Garden, where he did a 285 pound press, snatched 250 pounds and a clean and jerk of 325 pounds. He placed third behind Steve Stanko and Louis Abele. However he did win the Mr. America physique contest, and at this point decided to put his efforts into body building.

In 1941 he once again won the Mr. America contest. The AAU then made a rule that once you won the Mr. America contest you could not enter it again. The first Mr. Universe contest was held in 1947. John could not enter because the AAU said that he was a professional because of his work with the York Barbell Co. However the 1948 contest was open to both amateurs and professionals and he became Mr. Universe. In 1949 he won the Mr. USA contest in a highly publicized meet as it had become a battle between the IFBB organization and the York Barbell organization.

John died November 24 1998, having never been defeated in a body building contest.

The Husafell Stone

Thom Van Vleck by Pastor Snorri's goat pens in Iceland

Thom Van Vleck by Pastor Snorri’s goat pens in Iceland

By Thom Van Vleck

I recently took a trip to Iceland for a Highland Games competition.  While there I went to take a try at the Husafell Stone.  The Husafell Stone is a lifting stone of 409lbs located near Husafell, Iceland.  I think it’s history is well recorded in other better articles and most strength fans know of it so I wanted to focus on my day with the Husafell Stone.

I had been in Iceland for nearly two weeks.  I had competed in the Masters World Championships of Highland Games in Hafnarfjordur, Iceland for two days and then circled the entire island.  I had saved the Husafell for the last day so if I did try and lift it and I got hurt then it wouldn’t ruin the entire vacation!  Most of all I just wanted to visit an stone that I had heard and read about for the past 25 years that has been lifted by some of the greatest strength athletes of all time.

So that last day Michelle and I drove up a valley called Reykholtsdalur.  It is a valley sparsely populated now but historically a very significant area.  As we went along we stopped at various places and visited ancient settlements and new ones that span a 1000 years of Iceland history.  As we drove East houses became more and more sparse and the country more rugged.  I had an image in my mind of mountains and a distant glacier with a mountain stream nearby with waterfalls. I pictured very few trees and lots and lots of rocks.  The final location of the stone did not disappoint.  It didn’t hurt that we had great weather.  It was about 60 degrees and sunny.

One of the three Challenges is to set the stone on a corner of the pen.

One of the three Challenges is to set the stone on a corner of the pen.

As we pulled up I immediately saw the goat pens where the stone was located.  I parked nearby and stepped outside.  Michelle walked with me to the pens and even though there were no shortage of huge rocks lying around I immediately knew which one was the pen slab!

As I stopped and looked at it lying on the ground I could see traces of lifting chalk and maybe a little tacky.  On the ground it was not that imposing. It is basalt and basalt is a very dense stone which means it’s heavier than it looks!  It is a triangular, flat stone and very dark, almost black.  As I turned it on it’s side I found out how heavy it really was!

Michelle took some photos while I warmed up.  I lifted some smaller stones for practice.  I put on one of my oldest Jackson Weightlifting Club shirts. I also slipped on my trusty old belt that I’ve had for almost 30 years.  I was not as apprehensive as I thought I would be. I think I’m at an age where I feel comfortable with what I’ve done.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like to lose a battle.  I just felt a comfortable confidence.  I was honestly just happy to be there!

Michelle and I by Dettifoss.  It's the largest waterfall in Iceland and in all of Europe!

Michelle and I by Dettifoss. It’s the largest waterfall in Iceland and in all of Europe!

I went about the various challenges.  There were a few hikers that went by as there is a trail that heads up the nearby stream.  One came over to see what I was doing and watched a bit.  I felt a little embarrassed to be honest.  It was like a private moment.  Kind of like trying a personal best in the gym verses a lift in competitions with witnesses.  There’s a part of me that wanted this to be just me and the stone.

I spent a solid 2 hours there.  I met a lot of failure in the process.  Trying to figure out hand holds, dealing with some fatigue after 12 days on the road and going on hikes, and getting my 53 year old body to do what I wanted it to do.  In the end I felt successful.  Though I’m sure some might feel I didn’t do it “legit”.  I would compare any lifting I did to a “continental” versus a “clean”.  I was just happy to be there!

Iceland!

Iceland!

There was a moment I was just leaning against the pens and looking down the valley.  I had an unobstructed view.  Over my right shoulder were mountains, over my left was a distant glacier, to my left was the ravine filled with waterfalls that fed the nearby stream.  To my right was Husafell and the forest of evergreens that obscured it.  Directly in front of me was Pastor Snorri’s farm and a small Church.  It was very quiet.  The sun felt warm and the air crisp.  The only drawback was a few midges that felt it important to let you know they were there.  It was a good day to be alive.

Michelle and I walked over to the nearby Lutheran Church.  It was a small, stone Church with a small cemetery filled with birch trees stunted by the harshness of Iceland.  The Church was surprisingly open and we were able to go inside.  You could tell it was still an active Church.  The baptismal font, the communion cup, and the alter were roughly carved out of native stone.  It was a beautiful, simple place that made me feel as close to God as the most amazing Churches I’ve visited and believe me, I’ve been to some amazing pieces of architecture.

Finally it came time to go.  I was not sad.  I felt like my trip was a success and part of me would carry the moment with me forever.  So it’s not like I’ll ever really leave.  Lifting has given me and excuse to travel to some amazing places but I think the best  thing of all is it has fed my earthly spirit.    The next day my forearms were bruised and my back was stiff.  It felt great!

BRUNCH AND LINNER

By John McKean

The late, great Jack LaLanne, truly an all-round lifter& athlete if there ever was one, discovered a very similar nutrition approach that he once wrote  greatly improved his training energy and recuperation!

The late, great Jack LaLanne, truly an all-round lifter& athlete if there ever was one, discovered a very similar nutrition approach that he once wrote greatly improved his training energy and recuperation!

Ole pal, Chris Waterman, always the consummate USAWA competitor, was carefully concentrating through set after set in his usual perfect form. I finally had to remind him, tongue-in-cheek, that this was a National Championship, not a mere WORKOUT; of course, from our long time friendship throughout many of these big All-Round events, there just HAD to be some spirited razzing involved! Such as, he was working harder before first attempts on the official lifting platform than I train all week long at home! Or that suggesting, since this was his “comeback” meet after his being absent from competition for years, that maybe he shouldn’t make up for missed training all in one morning! Yes, I was greeted by good natured Chris’ chuckle & friendly smile as he recalled meets from the 90s, to inspire his very accurate account, “Yeah, yeah, I remember – you guys from Ambridge never warm up at all!!”

Truth was, at this 2017 Nationals, I had to hide the fact that, by golly, I just didn’t have any ENERGY to warmup!! Months of low calorie dieting to get down to 154 pounds bwt, left only a little hope that official attempts, even relatively light, would have the muster to go up at all! Naturally, I did feel better at the reduced weight, but sure “ran out of gas” when approaching some of the record poundage lifts I’d planned.

Now, I wanted to maintain trimness following the contest, but wished to search for a better eating plan that would go well with all-round’s intensive style of training. Surprisingly, I discovered a very detailed, scientific (yet interesting) approach to nutrition about 2 weeks later. I’ve been using the easily implemented plan ever since, and never have those low cal diet cravings that often haunted me as wife Marilyn baked her famous brownies, banana bread, and cookies!! In fact, at times on my new program I’ve felt overstuffed from a few meals, while my training energy is reaching new heights! Yet I’m still LOSING even a few more pounds!

The book I refer to is Dr. Michael VanDerschelden’s ” The Scientific Approach To Intermittent Fasting.” But, wait, don’t panic, this concept is NOT one of food deprivation at all, but rather one of eating two very good, solid meals per day, using about 16 hours (mostly overnight) between these hearty feedings! That “intermittent” time period is the “fasting” part, with main meals of your own choosing, selecting between a majority of proteins and fats. Steaks, eggs, nuts, fish, and chicken are all fair game; this author’s “diet” does not consist of suffering through endless carrot sticks nor tasteless salads. Basically, just skip breakfast! Or as I like to employ for my two meals – make it BRUNCH (9-11AM) and LINNER (3-5 PM). Just go with water, coffee, or tea for the 16 hours in between.

The mind blowing factor of Dr. Mike’s eating plan is the book’s extensive display of scientific studies to show its benefits. Such as a significant PROVEN reduction in fat tissue mass, blood pressure, and heart rate. Sound sleep, mental clarity, and training energy is greatly enhanced! To me, and probably all USAWA lifters with our beloved drug free approach, the doc shows conclusive evidence that his eating plan, according to the American College of Cardiology, will provide a NATURAL increase of human growth hormone in men by an astounding 2000%!! To me, if little else is provided (though 12 chapters and 280 pages shows MUCH more benefit!) this new HGH “supplementation” will encourage me to eat nothing other than “Brunch and Linner”!

Be sure to check out Dr. VanDershchelden’s  book on Amazon or your local bookseller – you’ll enjoy his easygoing, interesting style of writing and the many documented facts. And actually LEARN what effect various nutrition patterns have toward intensive weight training (the author actually states the case for short, high intensity workouts instead of long aerobic procedures). Heck, I’m finding this easy-to-implement way of eating is working superbly for an “early middle ager” like me (well, maybe not the increased mental clarity part!); just maybe I’ll actually join a “kid” like Chris Waterman on the warmup platform next year!!

HOF BIO – SCOTT SCHMIDT

By Al Myers

(Webmasters Note: Over the next month I will be running a series of biography blogs covering all past USAWA Hall of Fame members.  These bios will be added to the history section, under Hall of Fame.)

HALL OF FAME BIOGRAPHY

SCOTT SCHMIDT, CLASS OF 2010

SchmidtHOF1Scott Schmidt performing a Snatch in an Olympic Lifting Competition.

Scott Schmidt was born on November 15th, 1952 in Cleveland, Ohio. He has lived in the Greater Cleveland area his entire life. He has been married to his wife Kathy for over 30 years, and they have two children, Alan and Heather, and one grandson Joel. He has spent his entire working career in business and sales, and is currently retired. Scott also does a lot of volunteer work for his church, Unity Lutheran of Cleveland. He has been President of the Church Council for 12 years. His other athletic pursuit is golf, which he does at least once per week. Believe it or not, Scott is a pretty good golfer as well as weightlifter, and often scores in the low 80’s. A few years ago he received a plaque for his first Hole in One!

SchmidtHOF2One of Scott’s favorite All-Round Lifts is the Hip Lift.

Scott started lifting when he was 14 years old. His first competition was in 1967. Scott started his competitive lifting career as an Olympic Lifter and has compiled a very impressive resume of achievements. He has won the Ohio Open State Championships 10 times, the Ohio Master’s State Championships 18 times, American Open four times, 2 National Master’s Championships, and 4 American Open Masters Championships, along with 4 Pan American Masters Championships. He has placed in the top 5 in all four of the World Championships he has been in. In 1993, he missed winning first place in the World Championships due to one missed snatch! Scott has set over 50 Open and Masters Ohio State Records through his Olympic lifting career. On top of ALL THIS, his club, the Schmidt’s Barbell Club, has won 25 team titles!

Scott was first introduced to the USAWA by Bob Karhan, a past USAWA Champion. Scott’s first USAWA competition was in 1992 at the USAWA Winter Fest, a winter all-round meet which was held at the Ambridge Barbell Club. Since then, Scott has been a regular at USAWA meets and always a top competitor at our National Championships. His specialties are overhead pressing and jerks, gripping events, and the heavy lifts – notably the Hand and Thigh and the Hip Lift. Back in 1996, he was the first man in the USAWA to Clean and Push Press over 300 pounds. He is member of the “century club” – a designation given to USAWA lifters who hold over 100 USAWA records. There are ONLY a few over 20 lifters in this club, which is another accomplishment that warrants Scott’s outstanding involvement with the USAWA. In All-Round Lifting, Scott has won over 10 USAWA National Championships and over 10 IAWA World Championships. He has participated in the Gold Cup 6 times. He has placed in the top TEN among all competitors 6 times at the USAWA National Championships, with his best finish being 2nd overall at the 2008 Championships.

Scott Schmidt is the perfect example of the type of person and lifter all others should strive to be like.  He has been a leader in the USAWA. He supports his fellow competitors. He demonstrates outstanding sportsmanship. He has supported local competitions as well as being involved in the major competitions.  Scott has more than earned this USAWA Hall of Fame Award.

Iron Warrior RD

By RJ Jackson

MEET ANNOUNCEMENT

2017 USAWA Iron Warrior Gym Record Day (RD)

The Iron Warrior Gym RD provides opportunity for local lifters to contest USAWA lifts to include the upcoming 3rd Quarter and World Postals meet lifts. In addition to the Postal lifts, you are welcome to try any 5 lifts for record if there is equipment to support it. No awards.

Meet Directors: Jarrod Fobes, welcomematcolorado@gmail, Denver area.  RJ Jackson, strength_athlete@yahoo, Colorado Springs area.

Meet Date:  Sunday, August 27, 2017

Entry fee: $10 for use of the lifting facility

Entry deadline: If you plan on showing up, you must notify RJ if you plan on attending along with the names of the lifts you are attempting.

Divisions:  Open and Master for men and women

Location: Iron Warrior Gym,1630 West Evans Ave, Unit H., Denver CO 80110

Start Time: Weigh-ins 10:00 a.m., lifting immediately thereafter.

Sanction: USAWA ($25) membership is required.  Membership applications, rule book, score sheets, and Postal entry forms will be available.

Contact Iron Warrior Gym for available equipment. If the gym does not have the equipment you need, contact RJ who may have it.

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