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It was a weekend containing misinformation about the Apollon

wheels and the Inch dumbell, their histories, who has lifted

each before, and on and on. I will hit the highlights here rather

than try to correct a poorly run events' lowlights.

To begin with, the crowd at the Arnold does not know Thomas

Inch from Thomas Thumb, or Louis Uni from the unicorn, so

a carefully worded, and PRESENTED, brief text were required

to at least whet the appetites of the bewildered crowd. Sorry,

no such adequate intro.

First it was stated that Apollon had never lifted the wheels.

Then that he had 'made' or 'assembled' the wheels when he

was 17. In fact he retrieved the wheels from a junkyard fully

assembled. Then Norman (not Norbert) Schemansky was

credited with being the most recent man to lift the wheels.

On and on...a thwarted golden opportunity. A friend tells me

that Grimek was mentioned at having a try on the wheels.

Always love learning 'new' history, which in this case is


The Inch bell, we were told, has been lifted by only four men.

This simply is not accurate, if 'lifting' means getting it off the

floor, and if it means overhead, then who were the four men-

I have never heard, read, or smelled of this statistic.

Anyway, to the facts of the weekend attempts:

I measured the wheels, and the second set of 'wheels' back-

stage, and will get into more detail on Iron History; suffice it

here that the larger set of wheels weighed 365 lbs 9 ounces.

Some of the men chose to use the Continental to bring the

wheels to the chest, in what appeared to be three movements

at the upper waist, lower chest, upper chest, then to the

shoulders. This consumed an inordinate amount of energy

and strength. Two men cleaned the wheels, and here is the


Each man had two minutes as a time limit:

Raymonds Bergmanis five failed attempts

Phil Pfister, a continental to the belt (a violation of the rule

at this event, strangely enough), but no jerk.

Svend Karlsen, 2 continentals, no jerks

Andy Bolton, apparently did not qualify because he did not

compete in this event.

Brian Schoonveld 1 continental, no jerk

Mark Philippi 1 continental and 1 jerk

Brad Gillingham 2 cleans and no jerks

Then at 3:20 pm, Friday Feb 22, 2002, Mark Henry

approached the wheels. Within in the next two minutes, he

would clean and jerk the wheels replace them on the floor

and do it twice again for a total of three cleans with three

jerks. He weighed 390.

There was a second set of wheels that weighed 325 lbs,

and some lifting was done with this set to decide placings.

But Henry won and made some history, and became the only

man in history who outweighed the wheels, to lift them.


This happened Saturday night during the men's bodybuilding

show. Due to poor announcing of the rules (no continental

allowed here, and certainly only one hand allowed) an amazing

feat of strength was not counted, and the man who won the event did not get the bell overhead.

Schoonveld appeared to get the bell to his knee, Bergmanis

and Philippi got it a few inches off the floor, and I could not

tell if some of the other men got it off the floor.

But.Pfister stole the show. He one hand deadlifted the bell to his right knee, then squatted down and worked the now vertical bell back along his thigh, but in doing so the bell

started to tip, so Phil touched it with his left hand to balance it and he touched it for maybe one second, but that was enough for it to become a two handed (involved) lift, and

he was told to put the weight down, but Phil was having none of that! He continued the lift one handed, stood and used

his leg and arm to bring the bell to the shoulder and then

jerk it overhead! It was amazing. but THEN the rule about

the continental not being allowed, was told to the crowd,

who booed more strongly than if I had removed my shirt,

and later Arnold announced that he would give $1,000 to

Phil for the fine attempt.

Now comes Mark Henry, for whom some observers say this

contest and the other events in the strongman competiton

were custom built. (The Inch lift was not a part of the

strongman show) Anyway, Mark made two attempts, each

time one hand lifting the bell to about pec level or shoulder

level, but he was nowhere near cleaning it because his hand

remained on TOP of the bell and was not at all 'turning' for a

clean- it was more of an upright row.

Nonetheless, the requirement was the highest one hand

attempt, and because Phil had touched the weight with his

free hand after putting it on his knee, Mark had in fact lifted

the bell higher with one hand, albeit Phil's attempt gained a

huge roar of approval. But Mark won, and won $1,000.

Mark's attempts began at 8:33 pm Sat Feb 23, 2002.

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Tell me you got pictures!?

I loved this:

It was amazing. but THEN the rule about

the continental not being allowed, was told to the crowd,

who booed more strongly than if I had removed my shirt


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Yes, I got photos of each of Mark Henry's successes

and some other shots; will get them developed tomorrow

hopefully, and try to get them on a disk and email them to

you for posting.

Did not get photos of the Inch competition because of

lighting conditions and distance.

By the way, when someone asked Kaz about him trying

the wheels, he referred to earlier times when he was

pressing 350 lbs for reps. He did not bother to point out

that he was using a revolving barbell with a standard

diameter bar.

Oh- nobody pressed the wheels- in all cases the wheels

were jerked overhead, not pressed.

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Did Louis Uni press the wheel overhead or did he jerk it?

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Having never seen an explanation of how he did the

lift, I would assume jerk, or push press, without the

split, which he disdained to use.

Mark Henry cleaned the wheels as though they were on

a revolving bar. It was a beautiful sight.

The wheels cost $5,000 to manufacture and $2,500

to air freight to Columbus. The bar on the wheels has

very light knurling.

I spoke with Ed Coan backstage and asked him if he

had tried to lift them, and he said no.

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I was so disappointed that I missed the only events that I went for.  I was there today (Sunday) from 10:30 to about 2:00.  They had the powerlifting, which I didn't sit through, the gymnastics and cheerleading which was too crowded, and the exhibit hall.  I did see Dragan doing the 35 lb challenge.  That was interesting.  The day would have been a big waste in my mind except for......

I was passing by an exhibit when I saw a man of enormous size.  This man was a monster.  I looked at his face, and thought no, He looks too young to be Lou Ferrigno.  Indeed, it was the man himself.  They offered a Polaroid with him for $20.  I would have paid much more.  So I got the Polaroid and an autographed black and white of him as Hercules.  It was worth the 3 hour drive and admission fee just for that.

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By the way, Kaz was M.C. for the Inch competition and

after Pfister completed his lift, Kaz said that the manner

in which he had also lifted the bell was the manner just demonstrated by Pfister. In other words, there was no one hand clean involved.

Just think how strong Inch himself must have been to

stand and talk while holding the bell, and to put it overhead

with one hand many hundreds of times! Staggers the imagination, and the belief...When will the lifting world again see his equal...(that's a joke)

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Yeah, Joe. :) Common sense seems to point that Inch was full of it in that regard even without all your stacking of the proof in the pudding.

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Joe, thanks for the report for those of us that couldn't attend. Sounds like Phil P will put get the official Inch lift overhead next year. Maybe others, if Henry perfects his form. Hopefully one of them will clean it instead of a continental, that would make some history.

Is Henry going to get a WSM invite out of this, or is that not his thing? Sorry if this is a ridiculous question to those more informed than me, if I knew I wouldn't be asking.

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A guess, and that is what this is: No, Henry will not

be competing in more strongman shows. Having won this

inaugural Arnold show, the WWF can now bill him as the

Strongest Man again and hopefully (from their point of

view) re-invigorate his career as a pro wrestler. Competing

further, and risking losing, would nullify such a billboard,

Only a guess.

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David Willoughby doubted for awhile that Apollon could

overhead the wheels, but later came to believe that he

did. Ironman Mar 1958 p 54 by Willoughby:

"Apollon, however, was said to have cleaned and jerked this

ponderous, thick-handled 'barbell' at every performance. At

one time, I doubted whether this were actually true; however,

information obtained meanwhile inclines me to believe that it was."

Then DPW describes the manner in which Apollon probably

performed the C&J: "...evidently could clean (without

dipping) and 'jerk-press' this 367-pound axle whenever he chose..."

Though the term jerk-press has a mangled mixture of meaning

it is clear that DPW means that Apollon was using what we now term a 'power clean'- disdaining to dip as though that

somehow indicated a lack of ability to bring the bell, or wheels,

high enough by brute strength alone.

So the distiction can be made that Apollon remains the only

man to power clean the wheels.

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Thank You, Mr Roark!

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