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Paul Anderson Powerlifter

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Paul Edward Anderson was born in Toccoa Georgia USA on October 17, 1932 and started training in his back yard at an early age. His motivation was to join the Toccoa high school team to play football which he did earning himself a position as a blocking back because of his enormous strength.

After high school Paul was given a scholarship to Furman University where he attended for a year before he met Bob Peoples who introduced him to powerlifting that would change his focus completely when he went on to compete and win the Olympic Games powerlifting competition representing the USA.

At the 1955 World Championships which was held in Munich, Germany Paul Anderson broke two world records with a press of 407.7 pounds achieving a total weight cleared of 1129.5 pounds. In that year he easily won the world championships and was welcomed back on his return to the USA by the vice-president at the time Richard Nixon.

A year later at the Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia 1956 he won a gold medal competing in the super-heavyweight class. Paul Anderson then decided to become a professional powerlifter after the 1956 Summer Olympics. Unfortunately many of his great feats of strength, which were generally credible, were never done under any rigorous and recognized conditions in order to be official.

However he was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records that cited him in the 1985 edition for his back-lift of 6,270 pounds. It was this lift which later became the foundation for his reputation to be "World's Strongest Man". Paul was a committed Christian and in 1960 married Glenda Garland.

Together they started the Paula Anderson Youth Home which was set up specifically to deal with the troubled youth in Vidalia Georgia in 1961. A year later their daughter Paula was born. Paul continued to do speaking engagements and seminars across the country where he would do strength exhibitions.

Something that Paul was famous for was his strength stunts that he would do at these exhibitions like driving a 6 inch nail with his bare fist or lifting a table often loaded with eight or more men. He did other strength tricks like tearing telephone books and bending nails.

Paul Anderson was the original true strength athlete that never took steroids and he died at the age of 61 on August 15, 1994 leaving his wife and his daughter who still get involved with powerlifting events. Although Glenda does not compete she is involved with the promotion and the running of powerlifting meets.

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