Mr. Anderson was born in Toccoa, Georgia in 1932 and despite being afflicted with a rare disease called Bright’s, began his pursuit of strength. By the early 1950s, Paul was known around the world and in 1955 traveled to the former Soviet Union where he, as evidenced by his nickname “wonder of nature,” amazed all behind the “Iron Curtain!” In 1954 at the Melbourne Olympics, Paul become ill. His body temperature reached a staggering 104 degrees. I think we can agree that such a severity of illness would have sidelined almost any athlete, elite, worldclass, or otherwise. However and as Paul Anderson stated later in an interview, he relied “on a greater strength!” That day and despite incredibly difficult circumstances, Paul Anderson set the World Record in the Clean and Press, a lift that is no longer sanctioned by Olympic weightlifting federations, and went on to claim the Gold Medal for the United States. Following his Olympic victory, Paul turned professional to begin raising money for what would eventually become the Paul Anderson Youth Home.
Paul toured the country and world demonstrating his beyond one in a million strength. He appeared on the Groucho Marx and Ed Sullivan shows and became powerlifting and weightlifting’s first true celebrity. Perhaps without even meaning to, Paul established a path for all others, including myself, to follow. Paul set world records in virtually every lift known to the strength world and his training methods are still in use today. And in this world of modern technology and advanced science, that is an incredible accomplishment all on its own. At the heart of the matter is this; Paul Anderson’s influence and contributions to the world of strength will never be forgotten. All this stated, I believe that the greatest champions are those that leave a legacy beyond their sport, and that to me, is what makes Mr. Anderson, even to this day, so incredible! In 1959, Paul married Ms. Glenda Garland and together they began building a future
In 1961 Paul and Glenda took in their first teenagers by housing them in motels, but in the Fall of 1962, the first Paul Anderson Youth Home was built and by the early 1970s, the efforts of both Paul and Glenda had expanded into other states. For those unfamiliar with the homes, Paul and Glenda chose to take in troubled teenagers who often times faced the choice of either going to the youth home for rehabilitation and correction or prison sentencing. As you can imagine, the task of amending difficult teenagers is problematic at best. However, when you are a servant, you come to expect the greatest of challenges and obstacles. In fact, you welcome them. And that is what makes Paul and Glenda’s contributions, not just to the arena of strength and power, but to the world in general, so wonderful. During a time when it was much easier to discard and “throw away” those that found themselves in trouble with the law, the Anderson’s didn’t. They were trend setters and far ahead of their cultural time frame. Amazingly, their
loving and caring reach continues to extend even to do this day, and we are thankful for all they have done.
Paul Anderson, based on athletic accomplishment alone, qualifies for any distinction, but the Strength and Power Hall of Fame often spotlights those that have gone above and beyond the competitive arena to give to others and to help make the world a better place. Perhaps this, more than any other reason, is why the Official Georgia State and National Strength and Power
Halls of Fame are so honored to include Paul and Glenda Anderson into our fraternity and extended family. It’s an honor to be with you and Congratulations!