Frank Isaac Spellman, one of the most outstanding athlete in US weightlifting history was born exactly 98 years ago on 17 September 1922 in Malvern, Pennsylvania.
As a child, he was fascinated by the sight of muscular and strong people, and was determined to be one of them when he is grown.
He managed to reach this goal by starting weightlifting and he achieved his first great success at the age of twenty when he became a US junior champion in middleweight representing the York Barbell Club.
As a U.S. Army soldier, he served for three years during World War I and then resumed weightlifting once the war was over.
Among the seniors, he made his mark at the 1946 World Championship. He won a bronze medal and set the American record in press in the same year.
After he won the US Amateur Athletic Union middleweight category, he was able to compete at the 1947 World Championships, where he won a silver medal. The following year brought him a truly outstanding success: he won the 1948 London Olympics in the 75 kg category being first in all three disciplines.
Next to the Olympic gold medal, he set a new Olympic record in both Clean&Jerk and with 390 kilograms in Total as well.
His career did not stop after the 1948 Olympics. While he improved the national record several times, he won the North American middleweight title in 1949, and proved to be the best in the weight class at the Maccabi Games in 1950 in Israel.
In 1954, he went even further and he set a world record in squats, a discipline within powerlifting, which is a similar sport to weightlifting.
Even in 1971, at the age of 49, Spellman did not stop lifting. As a father of six children he was still able to win in the middleweight category at the US National Championships.
He was elected to the United States Weightlifting Hall of Fame and in several other organization’ Hall of Fame as well thanks to his achievements.
The charismatic sportsman passed away on January 12, 2017, at the age of 94.