Don't Weaken

A blog by Director Terry Todd

Broad Shoulders

By Terry Todd
December 11, 2009

In earlier blogs, several photos of Mark Henry have appeared and Joe Roark, the creator of a fascinating and authoritative forum-IronHistory– suggested that some sort of measurement of Mark’s shoulders should be made as it appeared that he might have the broadest shoulders on record in the iron game. Mark, not Joe! No laughing. Anyway, since Mark was in town yesterday for a brief visit I prevailed on him to drop by the Stark Center so we could make an attempt to measure his shoulder-width.

As a thoughtful person might imagine, getting an accurate shoulder-width measurement isn’t easy because—for one thing–it’s important to place any measuring device neither too high nor too low on the deltoids. An inch too high or an inch too low can make a significant difference. It’s also important for the arms to be held against the sides and not flared out by a flexing of the lats and the related shoulder-girdle muscles. Since we have a device here at the Stark Center that David P. Willoughby used to measure shoulder-width I hoped to use it, but it was too narrow. Undaunted, foraged through our work-rooms and found two straight pieces of wood, placed them at what I thought was the appropriate place on Mark’s shoulders. For my part, I attempted to keep the pieces of wood parallel to each other as Mark stood against a wall, held his arms straight, and placed his palms against his thighs. I actually believe that the pieces of wood which touched the wall were a bit closer together than they were when they were touching Mark’s shoulders. I tried not to fudge the measurement so that his shoulders would seem broader than they actually are, and in that effort I was pushing the sticks against his shoulders tightly—perhaps even depressing the flesh to a small extent.

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The Double Gift of Doris Barrilleaux

By Terry Todd
December 4, 2009

One of the most important gifts the Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports has received over the past several years came to us from Doris Barrilleaux, a Florida great-grandmother with the energy level of a hyperactive hummingbird. What she gave us was her very large and invaluable collection of correspondence, magazines, posters, videotapes, audiotapes, and many thousands of photographs. Without question, the Barrilleaux Collection contains enough raw material for ten doctoral dissertations, and we hope to see at least one fairly soon. One of the most wonderful aspects of the gift of the Barrilleaux collection is that Doris, who’s a whiz with computers, digitized virtually all of the rare primary documents she’s gifting to us. It took Doris approximately six months of long days to meticulously scan every newspaper article about herself, every magazine article she wrote, every photograph of hers that appeared in a magazine, and most of her correspondence. Visitors to the Stark Center will be able to quickly access her collection because of the organizational work she did; it was an enormous effort for her –and we at the Stark Center are deeply grateful to her for this tremendous gift to generations of future scholars.
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