Early History of Touch – World’s Strongest Man

Touch is possibly the last real titan of strength the US has produced in OL’ing, with no heavy since coming anywhere near his accomplishments. While he never medaled in the Olympics, he took 2nd in the World Championships in 1971, and won the Pan American games that same year. In all meets, he competed in the SHW class. He also took 3rd in the 1977 World’s Strongest Man competition.


Touch in action

Touch’s best lifts include, but are no where near limited to:

• Snatch – 387.5 lb (175.8 kg)

• Clean and press – 505.5 lb (229.3 kg)

• Clean and jerk – 505.5 lb (229.3 kg)

# Bench Press 560

# Squat 820

# Deadlift 785 for 2 reps

# Power Clean 501.5

# Front Squat 650

# Behind neck press 405 for 2 reps

# Incline press 485

He was the first American to clean and jerk 500+ lbs, in Detroit in 1967, and later became the first American to press this same weight. Touch’s training weights on assistance exercises were well beyond what practically anyone else in the US was doing at the time, including other talented SHW’s like Joe Dube (the last American to take a gold in weightlifting, which he did at the worlds in 1969). This allowed Touch to manhandle weights like no other, and was possibly the reason why he was frequently injured. However, this in no way takes away from his performance.

To get an idea of this man’s raw power, he was once doing shrugs with more than 700lbs on the bar, and on the third rep shrugged it so hard the bar bent enough that it was completely unusable. The bar is now located in the York Barbell Museum.


York Barbell Museum, York PA

Touch’s retirement from weightlifting was bittersweet, as he finally had the resources to compete against Redding and Alexeev, and was eagerly awaiting their meeting in Munich in 1972. Unfortunately, he bombed at that competion, and shortly thereafter, entered the world of Street Rock and Roll playing guitar in Head. This is, perhaps, a sad testimony to the lack of respect that many lifters get in comparison to other athletes here in the US.


Hi. We're Head. How's it going? We're from Seattle. We've been kicking around the hardscrabble streets of Queen Anne Hill since 1990. Head consists of Ree Ree on Bass/Vocals, Touch on Guitar and Tulu on Drums. The Giggles was a full time member of the band up until 1999 when he got his head screwed on straight and went into the Head Army Reserves. We've put out several records on our imprint Evil Clown Records as well as records on Steve Priest Fan Club, Regal Select and Goner. We average about 3 or 4 shows a year. 2011 we played 2 shows. Looks like 2012 will be more than that. I'll believe it when I see it.
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