GENE RYCHLAK JOINS LIFTINGS GREATS AS HE IS INDUCTED INTO THE YORK BARBELL HALL OF FAME
By AL THOMPSON
YORK, PA - Great careers and feats need to be remembered. It is the homage we pay to greatness that gives us - as a society - the ability to learn and become even better. Our young must see these accomplishments of others in order to dream their dreams, to visualize their own greatness, and thus dare to try for even more.
A Hall of Fame for sports is how athletic achievements are remembered. Some, like the football and baseball Halls of Fame, are part of the everyday American fabric.
Strength sports have a wonderful shrine to honor the best of all time in the York Barbell Hall of Fame and Museum in York, PA.
While it may not have the glamour and notoriety of a major sport, it is no less an honor to be inducted.
Philadelphia area strength athlete Gene Rychlak was recently immortalized with his induction into the York Barbell Hall of Fame and Museum.
Rychlak's amazing run of bench press success culminating with a spectacular lift of 1,005 pounds in November, 2004, landed his place among the greats.
Like in any sport there will be the cynics and critics. These individuals will look at the numbers and the career of Gene and pick out the flaws and say "why is he here?"
In Gene's case there will be some flaws of course (if you choose to look hard enough), but there is no denying the greatness of his achievements.
Gene is the first and only human to bench press over 1000 pounds. He was inducted into the York Barbell Hall of Fame on July 16, 2005 in a ceremony at the Central Pennsylvania?s landmark Museum & USA Weightlifting Hall of Fame building located at 3300 Board Road, York, PA (1-800-358-9675, www.yorkbarbell.com).
On November 16, 2003, Rychlak made history by becoming the first human to bench 900 pounds in a sanctioned meet, the IPA Senior Nationals, held in Camp Hill, PA.
The 37-year-old Rychlak, who has also squatted over 1000 pounds in a sanctioned meet hit the thousand-pound mark at a meet in Shamokin Dam, PA in November, 2004.
Where does Rychlak go from here? For the Spring-ford High School graduate there is only one direction,up. As astounding as benching over 1,000 pounds is to the lay person, the question must be asked. How about 1,100 pounds?
Absolutely, He says with a smile. I'm on a roll. I went from 900 pounds to a thousand in one year. So I don't see any problem, other than death, preventing me from 1100.
Al Thompson can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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