The Iron Cross

Posted on Sunday, November 27th, 2016 by John Wood
Much of the origins of strength training and physical culture come from gymnastics. The Iron Cross as performed on gymnastic rings, is one of the most impressive gymnastic feats. It takes a great deal of strength and plenty of skill to perform The Iron Cross properly.

The fellow above, Albert Azaryan was a Armenian gymnast who competed internationally for the Soviet Union. Azaryan is the 1956 and 1960 Olympic Champion on the still rings and the first ever gymnast to become an Olympic Champion in Rings twice. Azaryan actually originated a variation of the Iron Cross which was eventually named for him, which incorporates a very difficult quarter turn to the side, a simply mind boggling display of shoulder strength.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Marian Zieliński

Posted on Wednesday, May 4th, 2016 by John Wood

Marian Zieliński, the Polish weightlifter who took part in four Olympic games, is shown here in mid-press. Zieliński was the first Polish athlete to win an Olympic weightlifting medal when he took Bronze as a featherweight at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, Australia. At the 1960 Games in Rome he tried moving up to the lightweight class and finished fourth.

As a lightweight, he won two more Bronze medals, in Tokyo, 1964 and Mexico City, in 1968. Zieliński was also a three-time European champion and seven-time Polish Champion.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Pete George, Fyodor Bogdanovsky and Ermanno Pignatti

Posted on Friday, October 31st, 2014 by John Wood

Pete George of the USA, Fyodor Bogdanovsky of the USSR and Ermanno Pignatti of Italy compare hardware at the conclusion of the middle-weight class weightlifting at the 1956 Melbourne, Australia Olympic games. Taking place on November 24, 1956, Bogdanovsky totaled 420 kg, (a world record) for the gold, George totaled 412 kg for the silver and Pignatti totaled 382.5 kg for the bronze.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Isaac “Ike” Berger

Posted on Friday, August 22nd, 2014 by John Wood

Ike Berger is one of America’s most successful Olympic Weightlifters — he was the first featherweight in history to lift more than 800 pounds and the first to press double body weight.

Over Ike’s career he was the owner of 23 world weightlifting records, a 12-time United States national titleholder, 2-time World Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist at the 1956 Games in Melbourne Australia (along with two more Silver medals at the next two Olympic Games.)

At the 1964 Tokyo Olympic games, he established a record of 152.5 kg (336-1/2 lbs.) in the jerk, at a bodyweight of only 130 pounds (59 kg). This lift bettered the world record by 11 lbs., and made Ike pound-for-pound the strongest man in the world, a record that stood for nine years.

Ike Berger was elected to the United States Weightlifter’s Hall of Fame in 1965.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Humberto Selvetti

Posted on Monday, July 14th, 2014 by John Wood

The great Olympic Weightlifter Humberto Selvetti shows his stuff in his home land of Argentina. It was Selvetti who Paul Anderson defeated to win the Gold Medal at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games. Selvetti and Anderson both totaled 500 kg but Anderson beat him on lighter bodyweight)

Selvetti also competed at the at the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki (where he took Bronze with a 432.5 kg total) and at the 1964 Tokyo games, (where he finished 17th with a 445 kg total ).

As a side note, I find two other items of interest in this phone, #1, that’s a pretty hefty weight to put overhead while going uphill, and #2, the barbell set in this picture is especially unique, I have never seen anything like it before or since.

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Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Ike Berger’s Press

Posted on Thursday, March 6th, 2014 by John Wood

October 27, 1956 was the date, and the Civic Auditorium in San Jose, California was the place for the final Olympic tryouts, and the excellent lift shown above by Ike Berger. This was his second attempt, a press with 230 lbs. Ike was a featherweight but this lift would be impressive for a heavyweight these days, especially in that style.

A month later, Ike went on to win the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic games in Melbourne, Australia. The Olympic finals were sponsored by Ray Van Cleef’s Gateway to Health gym, and a good time was had by all.

Pete George’s Press

Posted on Friday, May 31st, 2013 by John Wood
How outstanding is this picture? Shown here is Pete George’s final press of 122.5 kg at the 1956 Melbourne Olympic game… enough to put him in the lead, at least temporarily. George had to settle for silver though as a few minutes later he was overtaken by Fyodor Bogdanovsky of the Soviet Union who eventually took the gold with a 420 kg total (75kg weight class.) If you look very closely, you can see Bob Hoffman in the crowd.

1956 Olympic Weightlifting: The Bantamweights

Posted on Saturday, December 29th, 2012 by John Wood

1956 Olympics Batamweights

A look at the medal platform for the 1956 Olympic Weightlifting Bantamweight class: American lifter Chuck Vinci took gold (with a 342.5 kg total ~ an Olympic record), Vladimir Stogov from the Soviet Union took the silver medal (with a 337.5 kg total) and Mahmoud Namdjou of Iran, took the bronze (with a 332.5 kg total).

Paul Anderson’s Gold Medal Lift

Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2011 by John Wood

Paul Anderson's Gold Medal Winning lift at the 1956 Olympic Games

Here’s a rare shot of the great Paul Anderson at the exact moment he won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia on November 26, 1956. The Russians, who had seen Big Paul in action previously, figured he would run away with it… But It was no cakewalk. Anderson had developed an inner-ear infection during the trip over which gave him trouble with his balance and caused him to miss lifts he ordinarily would have made with ease. Like a true champion, he fought through it and prevailed to take home the Gold with a 500 kg total.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Big Paul’s Big Wheels

Posted on Tuesday, May 24th, 2011 by John Wood
Big Paul and his famous wheels
What do you do when you need to squat over 600 pounds but a normal barbell just won’t hold enough weight? — Keep in mind that they didn’t have 100 lb. plates back then either. This was Paul Anderson’s solution, a set of wheels he found in a junk yard in his native town of Toccoa, Georgia.

At first, everybody thought he was crazy but they changed their tune when he came home from the 1956 Olympics with a shiny new Gold Medal. I don’t know of anyone who looked as relaxed as Big Paul while handling big weights.

That’s also another pretty good lesson: if you don’t have what you need you’ll have to improvise…