by Al Myers
Al: I had no idea that you underwent that many physical hardships before your distinguished lifting career. That must have took tremendous courage and willpower. I know Frank had to be a major influence on your All-Round Lifting. Along with Frank, who inspired you to take up weightlifting and compete in the USAWA?
Bob: As a young boy, a weightlifting or strongman competition on Wide World of Sports was a must see. I remember watching Bill Kazmier and Vasili Alexeyev dominate their respective strength sports. After watching those shows I would go outside and lift weights. I recall the time that I was outside lifting and my dear dad said “I don’t care what you want to be in life, just make sure you are the best you can be.” Those words have stuck with me ever since. My dad inspired me to be the best at what I loved, powerlifter and strongman.
Al: What was your favorite All-Round lifts? I know the Zercher Lift had to be one since you still hold the All-Time USAWA record in the Zercher Lift with a lift of 529#.
Bob: The Zercher lift was indeed my favorite. Although my highest official lift was 529, my best gym lift was 585. I had to stop doing them at the gym after dropping that 585 on the floor- the third floor of an old warehouse. I am still in shock that the floor didn’t collapse! My other favorites are the hip lift, hack lift and the straddle lift. I never had the chance to do the back lift in the USAWA but you will see me back on the platform in an attempt to break the all time record late in 2010.
Al: Please tell me about some of your accomplishments in All-Round weightlifting that you are the most proud of.
Bob: When I look back, I am most proud of the opportunities that the All-Round Weightlifting gave me to help others. My talents on the platform eventually led to the creation of my foundation, Lift For Life. While attending a fundraiser for a young boy with cancer, I observed a group of former pro athletes donating their time signing autographs to raise money for the cause. I thought to myself “Your autograph is worth less than the paper its written on, but you do have a talent in weightlifting.” A couple of weeks later there was a home show. The World’s Gym in Foxboro, MA, who was kind enough to sponsor me, had rented booth space at the show. I came up with the idea of getting people to sponsor me for each pound I was able to lift. World’s Gym did a terrific job in getting their members to sponsor me, and we raised over $6,000 for the young boy, who sadly lost his battle with the disease shortly thereafter. However, the idea caught on and I was approached by others to do events for their children. I will never forget the time that I did a 2,000+ pound hip lift to benefit a boy with cancer. The day of the event, I lifted and did several other feats of strength; afterwards, I was exhausted. While packing up for the day, unknown to me, the boy and his mother arrived (she had gone to get him from the hospital to witness the hip lift). I knew I couldn’t let him down, so I loaded the bar back up and did a 2,200+ pound lift (2 reps) for him. That was the best I had done at that time and it was also the most rewarding. Other moments of pride in strength sports include traveling to Russia and winning two gold medals for powerlifting, taking home a bundle of cash at a pro strongman competition in Canada, and of course, winning my division at the IAWA in London.
Interview will be continued tomorrow.