|By: Wade Hanna
need I say more......
it has been a long time since I got an interview up, but I have had quite
a bit going on this summer. Some therapy for an injury, the birth
of my newest daughter, and just the regular daily grind have nearly paralyzed
me from doing the things I enjoy (like writing for Jason and spouting off
on the Strength List). Well things seem to be slowing down some so
maybe I can get a little more involved.
Thank you very much for
your letter and for your interest in my strength from the old days.
Iím not sure what happened to the old Don Reinhoudt, but the years have
passed so quickly in my life. At least I have many memories from
the past and they were all wonderful days in my life. The friendships
I made were wonderful and I treasured that the most. We all had dreams
and goals and most of us were very close friends and we were very loyal
to each other! I had so many idols, even when I was lucky to have
had won my World Titles, I still had many idols. I often think of
Jimmy Williams, the very greatest bench presser of all time!!!! John
Kuc, I think the most powerful PLíer of all time. My very close friend
Doyle Kennedy, Jon Cole, and so many great Powerlifters at my time.
Doyle and I had a very special bond in the early days. The respect
and love for each other, but when it came time to battle, we got it on!
When it was all over we would go out and party and continue our relationship.
Your friend always,
......do you see what I mean? What a great guy! ;-)
Don has sent me so much stuff that in the interest of not crashing Deepís
server I am limiting what he sent me to his answers to my interview questions.
If anyone is interested in the PLUSA articles he included and some other
stuff then e-mail
me and we will get something worked out.
SO: Could you give us a rundown of your best lifts and titles you have won? What accomplishments were the most special to you?
DR: I won the World Powerlifting
Championships in 1973-1976. I also won the National
titles those same years. My greatest memory was when I took third
at the 1972 Worldís. I knew I was on my way. I saw John Kuc
total 2350 with the greatest lifting. Jimmy Williams took second
and benched 675, oooh so powerful. Jimmy took 700 on his third and
blew it off his chest like nothing. 3/4 the way up he got stuck.
It was so close, in most meets outside the worldís it would have passed.
A very long clap, can you think of what Jim would have done with a bench
shirt?! The greatest bencher of all time!! I did 850/590/730
for third place. It was a wonderful experience and such strict judging.
My best lifts were in 1975 in Chattanooga, Tennessee when I did 2420.
I set the world record in the DL with 885.5. It was done at 2:00AM
in the morning because the meet ran long. They had way too many lifters,
it was the last year I competed in Chattanooga.
SO: When did you start lifting weights and what got you interested? Have you always been a big guy or did you start out mortal? ;-)
DR: I started lifting weights when I went to college to play football. I went to a small college in Iowa, a Div. II and weighed in at 6'-3" and 230lbs. In High School we didnít have weights, I came from the old days. It didnít take me very long to get strong and gain size. In four years I went from 230-270. I played Defensive End in college. I was 18 when I started weight lifting. In those days no one knew anything about weights. All the guys did on the team were standing press, curls, DB presses, and some power cleans. No leg work at all, no benches, and lots of curls!
SO: What kind of goals did you set for yourself as you were up and coming? Did you accomplish everything you wished to do?
DR: When I got out of college
in 1968 I wanted to compete in Powerlifting. My first meet I did
1750 with a 440 BP, 660 SQ, and 635 DL. Within four meets I was hitting
a 1900 total and squatting 800. It took me a long time to get my
DL going. I could squat 800 and only DL 675. After my first
year I really thought I could be a world class lifter. My goal was
to be a World Champion.
SO: What kind of training regimen did you utilize? Could you give us a breakdown of what it might look like?
DR: In my day, I had an old cellar below my mom and dadís house. I didnít have a lot of fancy equipment. I had an Olympic set with up to a 1000lbs, Power rack, Squat stands, bench, incline bench, and a few dumbbells...that was it. I would train the lower body two days a week, and the upper body two days a week. I didnít do anything fancy I just lifted hard. I would use the power rack for my deads and a lot of lock outs for my bench. I did a lot of inclines, my best was 575 in 1980. Very simple and basic routines, but the workouts were ball busters!!!
SO: Do you feel that any particular areas of the musculature are more important for optimal performance in PL? How did you feel it differed, if at all, from your WSM training?
DR: For both PL and WSM I hit the lower back and legs very hard. My back and legs were very strong in those days. At the WSM the legs and back were the most important to be strong. I was blessed to have a powerful lower body, to pull and lift the things we did it was a MUST having a powerful lower body.
SO: What components of training do you feel are the most important? (i.e. Mentality, Focus, Work Ethic, Training regimen, Diet, or any others I may have missed)
DR: Dedication/ Determination/ Work Ethic/ Training, Mental/ Fighting through injury/ Diet.
SO: Shifting gears little, were you active in any other sports before Powerlifting?
DR: I played College Football for four years. In High School I was an all league basketball player, All Western New York Football Player, All Western Shot putter and in college I was also on the Varsity Track team.
SO: What got you interested in doing the WSM contests?
DR: I thought I would enjoy the challenge. I thought this would be a true test of a manís strength. In Powerlifting or any other strength sport, such as Olympic Lifting, you do a couple of lifts. In the WSM contest you have ten events to compete in. It was plenty tough!
SO: How would you describe your WSM experiences and had they been running prior to 1977, do you think you would have gravitated towards that instead of Powerlifting?
DR: No. I loved Powerlifting with all my heart and soul. I owe a lot to Powerlifting. The WSM contest was great and Iím glad I competed in it.
SO: What stands out as the best events/happenings of your WSM experiences?
DR: My 1000lb-girl lift, 2550 car lift, and barrel press of 300lbs, pulling a 20,000lb truck for world record time. Meeting many wonderful friends, Jon Kolb was, pound for pound, the strongest man at the Big Show. He was my closest friend! Jon was a manís man and had a heart as big as the world. Lars Hedlund was another great friend. I had many great battles with Billy Kazmaier (KAZ). Billy was a great strongman and had the body of a Greek god! I always had the utmost respect for Bill. Bruce Wilhelm???? Well.....Great memories and some wonderful friends.
SO: Myself , and some others I have spoken with, were a little Ďnon-plussedí at the way Bruce Wilhelm acted towards you in the 1978 WSM. What are you thoughts about that and was there a real animosity between the two of you?
DR: Itís too bad what happened at the 1978 WSM with Bruce. He and I were very good friends up to that point. I donít think Bruce thought that I was that good of an athlete, I knew he thought I was strong, but he took me for granted. I gave him everything he wanted and then some. I always had the most respect for Bruce, he was great athlete and very smart. He wasnít really that strong, but very smart and a wonderful athlete. He really did piss off a lot of the guys with his nasty attitude. Most of the guys could not stand him because he was so cocky. He tried to get into my head with his shitty ways, but couldnít do it. I was too much of a competitor for that. I just kept my mouth shut and did my thing. For a big man I was very quick and I never quit. Itís funny, after 21 years people still get pissed off with Bruce. Last year I got inducted into the World Hall of Fame in York and the guys still talk about what an asshole Bruce was to me. I wanted to be remembered as a good person, a hard worker, and someone who gave back to our great sport of Powerlifting. Bruce will always go down as a cocky person who pissed off a lot of the guys and John Q. Public. Itís a shame because Bruce was great in both Track and Olympic Lifting. He thought he was better than anyone else. I always gave respect to everyone because everyone deserved respect. Any one of the guys was the best and could have won. Bruce and myself werenít the best, we were both lucky and should feel we were honored to be there. As far as Iím concerned, everyone was a winner as all the guys were great. Too bad Bruce will go down as a cocky and nasty person, I still feel bad about this, but Bruce brought it upon himself.
SO: What athletes have you competed against ( PL or WSM) really stand out in your mind as greats? What makes them so special in your eyes?
DR: I have many memories
of the guys who I thought were great both as athletes and as people.
My number one would be Jon Kolb of the Steelers. Jon was the most powerful
man for his size of anyone I ever knew. He was also the greatest
person and friend I have been blessed to call friend. It is no wonder
the Steelers were the best team winning four super bowls. Jon had
the most powerful arms Iíve ever known, I used to train with Jon in Pittsburgh.
I had very powerful arms and hands myself, yet Jon could pull a towel out
of my hands and I could deadlift 900 for reps without straps and I was
100lbs heavier. Jon weighed about 270 and was pound for pound the
strongest man as far Iím concerned. I feel Billy Kazmaier was the
greatest, and built like a Greek god. Billy was strong, quick, and
never gave up. Jimmy Williams was great and John Kuc was unreal.
My very close friend Doyle Kennedy was a real winner in PL and one of my
best friends. Lars Hedlund was a great competitor who never quit;
he was built like Kaz and so strong.
SO: Have you continued to follow Powerlifting and/or WSM since you were actively competing? If so, what athletes between now and then have impressed you and why?
DR: I havenít followed PL like I should to be very honest with you. I do read as much as I can when time permits me. I keep very busy with my job as the youth director for my county of Chautauqua. I work with thousands of youths and it keeps me very busy. From what I have heard from last years Hall of Fame, things have changed a lot. The guys donít have the fellowships that we used to have, I do know the numbers have gone up in the BP and SQ. I still rank Jimmy Williams and Billy Kazmaier as the best benchers of all time. They didnít have the bench shirts just raw power. I guess the wraps are unreal in todayís world of powerlifting. We had just thin Olympic belts, one year we didnít even have knee wraps back in 1973. I squatted 950 at the nationals without the knee wraps, no super suit, and a thin Olympic belt. It didnít count, I was about 1 inch high...had I done it at any other meet it would have been a world record without knee wraps.
SO: How do you feel about the equipment being used in current PL competitions?
DR: When you think what Kuc, Williams, John Cole, Billy Kazmaier, and myself did without these wraps, we were pretty strong. What would we have done if we used all these suits and wraps? Iím glad I didnít, it made my 2420 total pretty impressive 24 years ago.
SO: Mr. Reinhoudt, I would like to open it up to you if there is anything I have missed or you would like to comment on please feel free to do so.
DR: Wade, I want to thank you again for taking the time to do this for myself and the others. I just want to add by saying Iíve been very blessed in my life. I only hope I added something to the great sport of strength. The strongest man of all time is god. No one can put anyone ahead of our lord. The second strongest man is Paul Anderson, was not only a great strongman, but also a very good person! I have always put the lord ahead as without god, we would have nothing in our lives.
SO: I would just like to
conclude by saying a sincere ďThank YouĒ and what an honor it has been
for me to speak with you. Iím sure I speak for many when I say you
have been a great inspiration and we sincerely wish you all the best in
your future endeavors!
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