AOBS Memorial Hall of Fame
While one of the foundations of the AOBS is the recognition of legends of the Iron Game at its annual dinners. What this approach misses, is those legends who, sadly, were not still alive or well when the AOBS began its work. This issue was addressed in 2005 with the creation of a posthumous award to recognize greats of the Iron Game who never lived to be honored by the AOBS. In the history of Iron Game, at least in the US, there has probably never been a more influential person than Bob Hoffman, hence his selection as the first honoree in the AOBS Hall of Fame.
June 11, 2005
June 3, 2006
June 9, 2007
October 23, 2010
September 17, 2011
John Davis - John Davis burst upon the International weightlifting scene in 1938, at the age of 17. Appearing at the World Championships in Vienna that year, in the light heavyweight division, Davis became the youngest athlete ever to win a world weightlifting championship. And he broke the world record in the total on the same occasion (amply demonstrating that his victory was no fluke). Thus began in international weightlifting career during which Davis was undefeated internationally for 15 years! Over the course of those years, John won the US Nationals 12 times, set numerous world records, won 6 World Championships and 2 Olympic Games. Considered the World’s Strongest Man in his era, he could have easily defended the title, as he was almost as outstanding in feats of deadlifting, squatting and many other strength tests as he was in performing the classic Olympic-style lifts.
Joe “The Mighty Atom” Greenstein - Though diminutive in size, the Mighty Atom was one of the most famous strongmen of all time. The array of strength feats he could perform was dazzling. And his abilities were not limited to strength feats (the Atom wrestled the legendary George Bothner – undefeated for decades – to a draw). His most famous performance was before a packed Madison Square Garden in 1975 at a Martial arts show. Though past the age of 80, he thrilled the crowd with his mighty feats. Perhaps his most famous feat was biting a nail in half. Joe proved to be an inspiration for many, including Slim “The Hammerman” Farman.
Bob Hoffman probably did more to popularize the use of weights than any other person in the history of the Iron Game. His York Barbell Co,.Strength & Health magazine and other publications introduced millions to the benefits of weight training, exercise and sound diet. Through his recruiting and coaching he took the US Weightlifting Team from relative minor leaguers in the early 1930's to legitimate contenders for the World title by the end of the decade and to winning 3 Olympic Team titles after WWII. His tireless advocacy for weight training helped to destroy the myths about the sport and make weight training an accepted conditioning method for athletes in every sport. His marketing of protein supplements was responsible for creating a huge industry. He proclaimed himself the “father of American weightlifting” but it would be hard to imagine anyone who more richly deserved that title.
Eugen Sandow - was a phenomenon of his era. Prior to Sandow, there had been many strong men, and strength performers, but he combined his strength and his amazing physique with the ability to display his muscles in an unprecedented way. His reputation grew to sensational levels throughout Europe, where he wowed audiences that included the royalty of the continent. He then appeared in the legendary Ziegfeld Follies, traveling throughout the US and becoming so well known that Thomas Edison made Sandow the star of one of his first short motion pictures. Returning to Europe, Sandow's fame helped him to successfully establish gymnasiums that were ahead of their time, and training systems that inspired untold numbers to take up and sustain exercise programs for the first time in their lives. Few individuals in Iron Game history had as great an impact as Sandow.
Warren Lincoln Travis was perhaps America's first famous strongman. Emerging on the strength scene near the turn of the 20th century, Travis become famous for back lifting and other feats with massive weights that had been made popular by some of the great European strongmen. Based in Brooklyn, he traveled the country, and even outside the US, displaying his strength and challenging all to try to duplicate a combination of ten feats that Travis preferred. He became truly famous after winning jewel encrusted belt offered by the Police Gazette, then the most widely read sporting publication in the US. He died when he was in his 60's, shortly after performing on on his beloved Brooklyn stage. He mentored another AOBS Hall of Famer, Joe "The Great" Rollino, and is depicted in the Jim Sanders painting displayed on the left..
Joe "The Great" Rollino had perhaps the longest career of any strongman in history. He began training at the age of ten, under the guidance of Warren Linclon Travis. By the time he was 15, he was performing on stage with Travis, and he continued to perform publicly at least into his 80's, and informally well into his 90's. Renowned as much for his character and prodigious memory as for his physical strength, he himself mentored generation after generation of young strongmen, most of whom remained ardent admirers of the great one for the rest of their lives. Boxer, linguist, war hero, bodyguard to the stars, legendary stevedore, cold water swimmer and vegetarian for more than 80 years, Joe left a lasting and positive impact on anyone who had the great fortune to meet this amazing man, who was as enthusiastic about his beloved Iron Game as a centenarian as he was as a young boy.