by Alan Carse (1938)
Were you ever down at Coney Island, the great
Recently a story appeared in one of the daily newspapers, as follows: A stout young man was lying upon the sand, soaking up his share or more of the beneficial vitamin D found even in the sunlight of congested
Perhaps it took place one hot day recently when something occurred which stirred even the sentiment of the blasé New Yorkers and Brooklynites who sought rest, relaxation, health and exercise at
Well, the hero of this story, the center of attraction, was saved only from bodily harm, by the forceful and rapid intervention of some of
An ebony Hercules had strolled blithely and nonchalantly upon
That’s one of the penalties of having a back broad as a barn door and a waist which tapers wasp-like from tremendously wide shoulders. A curve to the latissimus great enough to build a good sized shanty on. A pair of deltoids which remind one of a cocoanut cut in the middle, a column-like neck, mighty trapezius, great depth imparted by the tremendous spinae erector development and powerful arms, a shapely chest and round, thick pectorals, a smiling devil-may-care sort of look and a swaggering walk as if the man who was this great physical specimen knew the world was his oyster and he was about to open it.
All of this great flow of rhetoric, this use or misuse of the 450,000 words in the English language, concerns a seventeen-year old lad who has startled the weightlifting world, a man who has climbed from absolute lifting obscurity, from a nobody through the winning of the State championship, the National championship, and perhaps soon the World championship. He has what it takes to win, and. barring an upset, should win. I’m writing about John Davis. One of the greatest sensations of this year’s new lifting crop.
There have been a few great colored strongmen. Wesley Williams was the first of these. A man who clean & jerked 315 pounds many years ago, when it was far higher than the accepted national record. A man who applied loyalty, service, physical and mental power to his job so well that that while not yet forty, he has been promoted from captain of the New York City fire department to Battalion chief. There is John Terry, world’s record holder and this year’s national champion. And now there is John Davis, who gives great promise to outshine his illustrious predecessors.
John Davis’ story is a tale of rapid improvement which is nothing less than astonishing. Steve Stanko’s rise to fame, senior national lifting champion is his third ever contest, is the only one that compares with it favorably. It’s far less than a year since
John Davis was born just outside of
A visitor to
John also learned to play and enjoy handball. He’s one of the best at the single-wall game as played in playgrounds. You should see the speed and power he discloses when in action. He learned a bit of handbalancing as well. In the summer during vacation he worked at farms on
He inherited a sound body. While there were no actual strongmen, men who practiced strength feats, among his immediate ancestors, his people must have been mighty men. At least we know his mother was stronger than most men. John grew up to be a fairly big man, not so tall, 5’ 8”. Not so heavy, 183 pounds. He feels that he could weight over 200 pounds easily. Bob Hoffman does not believe he would look as attractive at that bodyweight as he does at present.
As the years passed with the life of exercise, good food, congenial home surroundings and culture, John developed a body like the untilled field of fertile soil we have written about before. One ready to respond with a big crop when the seed falls upon it.
The seed fell just a bit over a year ago. Several things occurred simultaneously. Strength & Health magazine was brought to the attention of John Davis. He visited the strength show at
Before very long he entered open competition at the French sporting club.
We heard things about the amazing power of this young man Davis, who was just a boy of sixteen at the time. The most amazing strongman and lifter of his age the world had seen perhaps since the day of the sixteen year old Appolon of France. But
He’s a good presser too, having succeeded with 255 in nice style in practice. A weight which is, by the way, one pound higher than the world’s record held by Tony Gietl of
He progressed amazingly. Now he is in line for a berth on the world’s championship team. It is well within
Naturally you are interested in how John Davis trains. He trains long and hard, as would be expected of a man who has made such amazing progress. He has the strength, the endurance and the ambition to train for hours. To train at least five days a week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, then a day of rest. Train Saturday and rest Sunday. He does a great deal of pressing, as many as 100 performed in series of 5 or less each with heavy weights. He snatches in much the same manner, series of five and less. Few of our older champions do much cleaning. Hardly more than once a week. On other nights they do a great deal of snatching, and exercises to improve the clean. Principally pulls and upright rowing motions. Once a week, they will handle a substantial poundage in the clean and jerk. But
He does no full deep knee bends. He is like most other
You’ll hear more about this young man Davis. He’ll be world famous. It’s quite possible he will go to Vienna this year as a member of this year’s World’s championship team and one this is certain, what Davis does there will be he talk of the lifting world.