June 12, 1957 – Weightlifter Paul Anderson Sets World Backlift Record

On June 12, 1957, Georgia-born American hero Paul Anderson entered the Guinness Book of World Records with a backlift of 6270 lbs.  The 24-year-old strongman had already broken many United States and world records over his five-year career.  As a member of the 1955 United States Weightlifting team, he traveled behind the Iron Curtain to the Soviet Union.  At a meet in Gorki Park, St. Petersburg, he set three world records to the delight of the Cold War-era crowd.   Paul also won the Gold Medal in weightlifting at the 1956 Summer Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia.

Paul Anderson Wikimedia Commons

Record-breaking weightlifter Paul Anderson

The platform Paul used for his record-breaking backlift held the heaviest items he could find around his Toccoa, Georgia home, including a safe filled with weights and concrete totalling 2480 lbs.  The Guinness Book entry read:

“Greatest lift.  The greatest weight ever raised by a human being is 6,270 lbs. in a backlift (weight lifted off trestles) by 364-lb Paul Anderson (U.S.) (b. 1932), the 1956 Olympic heavyweight champion, at Toccoa, Georgia, on June 12, 1957.”

Paul made his life work the establishment and continued success of the Paul Anderson Youth Home in Vidalia, Georgia. An alternative to incarceration with adult criminals, the home offered troubled or homeless boys a second chance for a new life.  They received a good education and learned a strong work ethic.  Paul made over 500 public appearances a year in support of the home, giving weightlifting demonstrations and sharing with the crowds his Christian faith and love for America.

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

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