John Carrol Grimek is the Monarch of Muscledom
John Carroll Grimek is the universal name for ultimate masculinity and power. He is the “Monarch of Muscledom” who happens to be the one and only undefeated bodybuilder. As an epitome of muscle building and strength training he had to defeat himself several times till his retirement. He owned the Perfect body of classic proportions, enigmatic power and outstanding strength that was never seen or will be seen in near future.
John C Grimek was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, USA on June 17, 1910 to George and Maria Grimek. It has been a heated discussion as to why John C Grimek dint go to Slovakia while he was born to Slovak immigrants. Proudly called as “The Glow” he continued to glow until his demise on November 20, 1998 at a tender age of 88 years.
Innovation and Inspiration to bodybuilding:
I would say he sculpted his body rather than bodybuilding. The finesse, fitness and over all human form of John Carroll Grimek has left his fans mesmerized in his absence. The graceful structure of his body depicts the actual symmetry of god’s best creation, of course, improvised by his dedication and passion. Vastness of chest, wasp waist, enormous biceps and deltoids are the signature mark of John. He was a proud body builder to be the only one worldwide to not lose the credit of being the most impeccable body until his retirement. The magic and aura of his body was magnificent and humongous. Nevertheless, he was known to be as kind and humble as a saint. In his conversation with Clarence Bass, he said, “It seems everything I did turned to muscle, but the gym is not a place to develop the ego, but the place to develop character and health...that is what it is all about”.1
Having been away from us for 16 years, he remains youth icon, as a lot of prospective bodybuilders and those in the progress look behind to learn from him. He will always be idolized for his supreme muscularity and phenomenal power. The inputs from John to magazine- ‘Strength & Health” have been a great contribution. This magazine is a representation of his experience and opinions and has been considered as body building guide with tips and ideas that will be cherished and followed.
John C Grimek was a man who had complete control on his muscles. His world famous pillar pose is a breathtaking cynosure. He became word of mouth in the year 1929 with his photos being published in muscle magazines. The physique and extreme power he owned were undying and remained unassailable. As per the measurements in the year 1940/41 his profile is as follows: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Grimek)
Weight: 195 lbs.
Neck: 17 inches
Arm: 17.5 inches
Forearm: 14 inches
Chest: 47 inches
Waist: 31 inches
Thigh: 25 inches
Calf: 17 inches
Wrist: 8 inches
Ankle: 9.8 inches
As an undefeated bodybuilder, John Grimek won several accolades and recognitions throughout his career. The undying passion and self motivation proved his manly physique even in Post-retirement stage of life.
Age 29 to 35 years: 1939- 1941
He became a national champion and represented the United States Olympic weightlifting team in the year 1936. In the year 1939, John C Grimek won the title- ‘York Perfect Man’ after competing against finest of the body builders of his time. John won the most coveted Mr. America contest in the year 1940 and 1941 successively. After defeating Steve Stanko and Sam Loprinzi in Most Muscular Man contest in Turner’s Hall, Philadelphia he was honored with the title of ‘America’s Most Muscular Man’ of the year 1940. His unbeatable body forced the AAU to pass a rule that barred the Mr. America winners from contending again. His presence in the contest only meant, America would never see other upcoming talent for some time.
The physique and looks of Grimek in the Mr. America contest were massively adored and every bodybuilder wanted to look as godly as him. He reinvented what masculinity is and men started venerating him.
Age 36 to retirement: 1946- 1949
He was honored with the title of ‘Most muscular man in America’ after defeating Steve Stanko and others in Turner’s Hall, Philadelphia. Soon in the year 1948, he won the Mr. Universe (Short and Overall) contest at 1948 Olympics games that was held in Scala Theatre, London. The year 1949 remains nostalgic even now, Grimek won AAU Mr. USA title defeating bodybuilders, Clarence Ross, George Eiferman, and Steve Reeves. Soon after winning Pro Mr. USA title in Los Angeles, he announced the retirement from bodybuilding with eternal feel of satisfaction. It goes without saying, he remained invincible till the retirement and to everyone’s astonishment he was fit and able to execute more than 400 squats even after retirement.
He continued to be a perfect bodybuilder who defeated his age too. He continued to get offers as a guest poser post retirement. The aura and glow from his body was emanating youthful energy. The charisma, fluidity, power, gait, splits exuding from his body were worth to be marveled.
Life and Career:
John Carroll Grimek’s career has been fascinating with many men loathing him out of jealousy. As a greatest body builder and strongest weight lifter of his era, he has gone far beyond a human potential to win a plenty of awards and recognitions. His physique and strength failed many contemporaries including Steve Reeves, Dan Lurie, Alan Stephen, Clarence Ross and Sig Klein. He was a connoisseur prepared for Impromptu challenges. As an expert he had to do very little to win against his peers in national championships, Olympics, contests, shows and other sport events. Even though, it is hard to believe that he was deprived of the well deserved recognition and appreciation.
It all started with his photo shoots for muscle magazines. The year 1929 marked his prominence in these magazines as a youth of great physique and muscular potential. He soon became a member of York Barbell Club to train under coach, Bob Hoffman in York, Pennsylvania.
At a very young age he showed remarkable weight training performances that he was soon in demand for photo shoots in New York City. Year 1934 marked his amateur presence in first contest of his life with him winning heavyweight class in New Jersey Championships, Newark. With this there was no looking back, just in a few months he was competing in his first national championships against giants like Bill Good, J. C. Hise. Though he did not win the championship, his record breaking job was commendable with 242.5 press that was highest in the contest. In the following year, he lost the championship to Bill Good marginally. John Carroll Grimek took his revenge against Bill Good in the 1936 Olympics by scoring the best press scores and thus earned a title- America’s strongest man.
His inconsistency and lack of form in quick lifts did not allow him to become world class lifter. The initial stages of career of John Carroll Grimek were spent in a dilemma to be a serious weight lifter. The unmatchable strength and physique of Grimek made him fit and potential strength athlete. This was seen with his success in 1938 North American championships that earned him qualification for world championships, Vienna.
John’s herculean strength and impromptu abilities were showcased when he scored 845 in light-weight in North American championships, Toronto. Bobb Hoffman was a keen observer who noticed great strength and jerk abilities of John. His performance in 1940 Senior National championship is considered to be the best with 285 press, 250 snatches and 325 jerks with a total of 860 in heavy-weight. All these feats paved him a third position behind Stanko and Abele. Grimek was an unbeatable body builder but he could not use his strength to the fullest as a weightlifter as he had not met the body weight specifications. If he had to meet these specifications, he had to endanger the possible accomplishments in the field of body building. With this background his success in heavy weight championship in 1936 and Berlin Olympics is praiseworthy.
As the finest bodybuilder of the world and formidable physique, Grimek maintained his body weight low to retain this fame. With this, Grimek drifted from weight lifting to give more attention to bodybuilding. Bob Hoffman seemed to understand this decision of Grimek and used it to Grimek and his personal benefits. Both worked together to broadcast bob’s products and philosophy.
John Grimek then joined the bodybuilding training at York Barbell Club, York, Pennsylvania. As a trainer, Bob Hoffman infused into Grimek the essentials of bodybuilding and the rest is history. The Mr. America entitlements in 1940 and 1941, most muscular man winner in 1946, and Mr. Universe in 1948, and Mr. USA winner in 1949 are a few lifetime accomplishments John Grimek as a magnificent bodybuilder.
By Rich Webdevoman
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