Dun, dun, dun!! The ongoing opposition between powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting
I read an interesting article on the Tight Tan Slacks of Dezso Ban blog and thought I’d share it here: http://ditillo2.blogspot.com/2009/12...ted-peary.html
Rip, you’ve alluded to the historical and cultural inertias that continue to propel certain ideas forward into the present, and I would include among them this notion, which some in the Olympic lifting community adhere to, that getting strong in the slow lifts isn’t of extreme importance. Here’s some relevant excerpts taken from about two-thirds through the article, written by Peary Rader:
In the July issue of Lifting News, there was a report on a discussion Bob Hoffman and I had on powerlifting. Bob, of course, was totally Olympic lifting and felt that powerlifting was damaging to Olympic lifting. He was opposed to bench pressing, deadlifting and squatting as he felt that this was bad for Olympic lifters and destroyed their abilities. I tried to point out to him that the squat especially was a very valuable exercise for Olympic lifters and that they should all do it…
In previous years, the USA had dominated Olympic lifting and had most of the champions and world records but around 1959 and 1960 there began to be a decline and we have never recovered from that decline since then. Possibly many people will blame powerlifting for this decline in Olympic lifting and I think that it is true that many lifters have gone into powerlifting that might otherwise be in Olympic lifting…
In the March 1961 issue of Lifting News there was an article by the famous Olympic lifter Bob Mitchell telling his opinion about powerlifting and that powerlift training could help a man in Olympic lifting. This would indicate the change in the thinking of many of the people involved in the field of lifting. Mitchell cites many of the top lifters of the time who used some of the powerlifts in their training to improve their Olympic lifting. This is another indication of the growing trend in popularity of powerlifting…
In 1963 David Matlin issued a statement regarding powerlifting indicating that powerlifting should be dropped from the Olympic Lift AAU Committee…he was forced to rescind his statement and stated that the AAU Olympic Lift Committee would retain jurisdiction over powerlifting. The Olympic Committee did not want to lose this jurisdiction since they did not want powerlifting to grow.
If this article is basically true, then the bias against strength training has roots that span all the way back to powerlifting’s infancy, right at the point when it was beginning to splinter off from Olympic weightlifting.
I’m surprised this isn’t brought up more often because it sounds like the disdain for powerlifting remained high until at least the late ‘60s. And it sounds like Mr. Hoffman was one of its more prominent adversaries. Mr. Starr would probably have a thing or two to say about that.
Any commentary that you might provide regarding all of this would be delightful, of course. How much, in your opinion, do these old-timey sentiments have to do with the current snarling and posturing that goes on between the two lifting camps? One thing I’m hopeful about: your seminars, if they become popular enough, and if they can gather enough steam, could provide the right antidote.
I talked to Bill about this last night. He's going to write about it for us soon, so I'll just let the guy who was there splain it instead of me.
Look forward to it. I hope we will see more writings from Bill here.
Originally Posted by Mark Rippetoe