Here’s a rare look at the great John Davis. Hard to tell were this shot is from though. This image was actually from a German tobacco card from 1952. If you take a close look, those are BAWLA (British Amateur Weight Lifting Association) Plates so it may be from the 1948 Olympics, held in London, where Davis took home the gold medal. Problem is, it doesn’t match up to any other shots we have seen from that time period. Either way, another look at Mr. Davis in action is always a good thing.
Here’s a look at the great John Davis squatting at Ed Yarick’s Gym in Oakland, California in the 50’s. That’s 400 lbs. and he makes it look easy. No monkey business there, just pure power development. You sure don’t see squatting like this much these days.
John Davis was among the many famous visitors to Muscle Beach during its heyday. This picture was probably taken during the period of time when Davis spent some time out on the West Coast training at Yarick’s Gym. Looks like around 300 pounds on the bar. Notice there aren’t any collars on the bar~ you can’t miss a lift if you’re a world champ. Davis is also still wearing his wrist watch, you sure won’t see THAT today.
One of the classic tests of grip strength is to pinch two heavy weight plates together – something that legendary John Davis could do with ease with these York Deep-Dish 35-pound plates. Davis could perform three one-arm chins as well as lift the famed Apollon wheels which also had a very thick handle — needless to say, if you want to be a strongman, it pays to have strong hands…
Ironically, American weightlifting champions often got more recognition from the international media than they did back home. Here”s John Davis, pictured on the cover of a French Sporting magazine in 1950 on his way to winning the heavyweight class the 1950 World Championship in Paris, France. By the weight on the bar, this appears to be Davis’ winning snatch lift of 147.5 kg.
On September 13th, 1949 the American Olympic Weightlifting Champion John Davis succeeded in cleaning and jerking the famous Apollon Wheels. In doing so, he became just the third man to put them overhead, joining the French Champion Charles Rigoulot and Apollon himself. Davis’ accomplishment did not come easy, on his first attempt he passed out in mid-lift!