Yesterdays of Demopolis
World's Strongest Man
The headlines read "World's strongest man coming to Linden Athletic Field - November 11, 1974 - Time 7:30 p.m. to demonstrate his strength and witness for Christ." The Bethel Baptist Association Brotherhood was sponsoring Paul Anderson that night and he was to tell about his greatest thrill in his life. Paul told that it was a great thrill to be called the strongest man...but the greatest thrill in his life was being a Christian and having an opportunity to witness for Christ.
The picture above shows a nail driven through a 2" x 6" board. That nail was driven into the board by Paul's hand.
Paul had said that he would be miserable if not for a challenge. In 1955 he toured the Soviet Union wit the U.S. weightlifting team and was called "a wonder of nature" by the Russians. He broke the world record of 338 pounds by 65-1/2 pounds. In 1956 he lifted 414-1/2 pounds, breaking the world record and winning a gold medal at the Olympic games in Melbourne, Austrailia. At the time he had a 104 degree fever.
He has bench pressed 627 pounds, achieved 1200 pounds in a deep-knee bend and dead-lifted 820 pounds, making a career aggregate of 2,647 pounds. According to the Guiness Book of World Records the greatest lift was made by Paul. That feat was accomplished in Toccoa, Georgia in 1957. He lifted a 770 pound oak platform on which lay 5,500 pounds of official weights for a total of 6,270 pounds.
Paul has written several books, numerous physical fitness and strength courses and a weekly column which has appeared in 1,500 newspapers.
In June 1983 Paul had to have a kidney transplant. He had battled acute nephritis known as Bright's disease as a child. While the inflammation was eventually cured and his teenage years were normal, eventually his kidney damage surfaced again. His sister gave him one of her kidneys and his condition improved remarkably.
At one point in his life he was giving 500 speaking engagements each year. The first Paul Anderson Youth Home was opened in Vidalia, Georgia in 1961. Anderson said that he tries to convince yound people that they are each the "greatest living person going today". If you don't like you, you're going to strike out at the world. If you like yourself, you're going to reach out and help people, and that's what we want."
Click on a thumbnail to view a larger picture...
Compliments of Dale Barger.
The Birmingham News - September 4, 1984
The Alabama Baptist - January 12, 1984