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By: J.V. Askem

The following are results of the first official powerlifting championships held in the United States. The contest was held September 5th, 1964 at William Penn Senior High School in York, PA. The meet director was John Terlazzo. The title of the contest: The Powerlifting Tournament Of America. It was also held in conjunction with the Mr. United States physique contest and was sanctioned by the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (AAU).

In 1964 the national AAU Weightlifting committee, which was the official governing body at that time for Olympic lifting and amateur physique contests, voted to add and legitimize a new weight sport called "Powerlifting". To kick off this new sport, The Powerlifting Tournament Of America was held. However, no official records were kept until after January 1, 1965.

123                             Bench Press               Squat                   Deadlift             Total
Dave Moyer                  240                          425                       420                    1085
Jim Kenyon                   180                          280                       365                      825
Ruben Melendez           180                         280                        360                      820

Harold Raker                 215                        235                        475                      925
George Nieyty               220                        275                        415                      910
William Gladstone         170                        275                        405                      850

Larry Mintz                   300                       450                        475                      1225
Robert Scott                  240                       380                        530                      1150
Anthony Latrace           250                       415                        450                      1115

Nathan Harris               280                        445                       625                      1350
Owen Smith                   310                        425                       545                      1280
Gene Devers                 275                        430                       560                      1265

William Andrews           385                       520                       550                       1455
Paul Majors                   310                       470                       590                       1370
Ronnie Ray                   390                       450                       530                       1370

Stanley Blinder              315                       510                       600                       1425
Arthur Turgeon              390                       460                       550                       1400
Kevin Crouse                 390                       450                       550                       1390

Heavy Weights
Terry Todd      (317)      470                       600                       710                       1780
Wilbur Miller  (246)      365                       515                       715                       1595
Ed Morliens    (263)      350                       520                       620                       1490

Bibliography: The 1971 AAU Official Weightlifting Rule Book.
(I deem the above information as 100% accurate because I copied it directly from an old Official AAU Rule Book. Now, in Part 2 I will recall, not only from documented data, but also from memory! It is for this reason that I will not put the exact dates. I've been told I have a pretty good memory, so figure what is fore coming is close to the way things were.)

As previously stated compiling official records for the sport Powerlifting commenced on January 1, 1965. These records were just American records NOT world records, because no international or world federation was formed until 1974.

In the beginning Powerlifting used the same weight classes as Olympic lifting (123, 132, 148, 165, 181, 198, HWT). In 1967 a 242 lb class was added and contested at the 1967 Senior National Powerlifting Championships. The results follow:
242 lb class 1967  Bench Press Squat Deadlift Total
1. George Frenn                 400                          705                     710                    1850
2. Paul Yazolino                  485                          630                     630                    1745
3. Mel Hennessy                525                          590                     615                    1730

In 1968, following the Olympic Games, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) added a 114 lb and a 242 lb. Thus the 114 lb class was also added to Powerlifting. By 1975 Powerlifting had its own international federation and soon added a 100kg /220 lb. class. Olympic lifting then followed Powerlifting's example and added their own 220 lb class following the 1976 Olympic Games. In 1978 Powerlifting added a 125kg/ 275 lb. class.

The original National AAU Weightlifting Committee was made up of delegates from over 60 local associations and 13 regions within the United States. The National Weightlifting Committee Chairman was elected by this committee. He, in turn, then appointed "sub committee" chairmen for various jobs. Thus the national committee served as an umbrella organization that governed several amateur sports. In 1964, when Powerlifting became an official sport, a new national sub committee chairman position was created.

In 1974 the International Powerlifting Federation (IPF) became the *first international organization for the sport of Powerlifting. Bob Crist, the then United States National AAU Weightlifting Committee Chairman, served as the first president of the IPF. Clay Patterson, the then Powerlifting Sub Committee Chairman, served as the first IPF Secretary.

* NOTE: In 1968, the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) voted to be the controlling body for international powerlifting, but rescinded their control a year later in 1969 without ever holding a sanctioned contest.

From what I remember of the early years of Powerlifting was that it was not that big of a sport for the first 5 or 6 years. Olympic lifting meets far out drew power meets in both contestants and audience. Now in my opinion, Powerlifting got its biggest shot in the arm in 1972 when the Olympic lifting community dropped the Two Hands Clean & Press. This change alienated a lot of power oriented Olympic lifters. It also drove a huge wedge between the two sports. On top of this, it segregated the sport of Olympic lifting from most of the general public. Up to that point, many people, even if they weren't competitors in an iron game sport, could identify with overhead pressing, primarily because pressing movements are part of most trainees' workouts, where the snatch and C&J were considered too gymnastic for the average trainee.

It's true the Olympic Press's form had deteriorated, but the failure of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to address the problem just opened the door for the Powerlifting community to go forward. Rather than tightening up on the rules for the Press, and maybe revoking some of their referees' cards, the IWF just ran away from their problem.

The original attire for Powerlifting was virtually the same as Olympic lifting. Lifters were given the option of wearing a one piece lifting suit (singlet), or a two piece outfit consisting of tee shirt or tank top with a pair of shorts. Shoes with a heel no higher than 2" were to be worn. And a belt no wider than 4" optionally could be used. Also, Ace bandages or medical crepe were allowed to be wrapped around the knees and wrists.

Well, it didn't take long for someone in Powerlifting to circumvent the two piece outfit rule! Because the rules were written in general terms, special squatting or support shorts soon turned up. This was because there was no specifications as to the fabrics that lifting attire could be made of. It was 1972 when I first saw the use of such garments. In fact, I was offered a pair because I lifted for the club that introduced them. The shorts were made of a canvas material procured at a boat yard. They laced up in the front similar to football pants.

Now, as soon as the National Weightlifting Committee got wind of these new support garments they immediately, at their next national meeting, banned them. In fact, the committee at that time banned all supports for Powerlifting all together. Only the 4" belt and a one piece lifting suit remained. These "raw rules" stayed in effect for a little over a year until 1974 when IPF was formed.

When the IPF was formed in 1974, the British Powerlifting delegation insisted on bringing the wraps back. In fact, the British up to that time, had used wraps three times the lengths previously allowed in America. Also with the formation of the IPF, the Squat was moved to the first position with the Bench Press to be contested second.

Now the National AAU Powerlifting Sub Committee served as the United States affiliate to the IPF until 1979. Then the Olympic lifting faction of the old National Weightlifting Committee broke away from the AAU and formed the United States Weightlifting Federation (now USA Weightlifting). Also, at that time, the Olympic lifting faction didn't want anymore to do with Powerlifting.

This then put the Powerlifting faction of the old AAU Powerlifting Sub Committee finally on their own. So, they formed the United States Powerlifting Federation (USPF). The USPF then served as the IPF's affiliate until 1996 when the American Drug Free Powerlifting Association (now USA Powerlifting) replaced them.


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