- BILL RAYMOND *
Working out of the Providence, RI YMCA Bill Raymond played a pivotal role in organizing Olympic-style Weightlifting in New England. He was National Vice President, and ultimately President of the ACWLA (American Continental Weight Lifting Association, founded 1922). He met Bob Hoffman of York, PA–the dominant coach/leader of the sport in the US for decades–in 1930. Raymond would help guide the sport in New England in the 1930s to a level of excellence second only to what the York gang had going. He organized the New England Championships (at the Providence ‘Y’) for June 1933 as the first mass interstate event of its kind. At one time Bill was coaching nearly 100 lifters. He also served as an official at other events nationally. Mr. Raymond was born with an underdeveloped left arm (infantile paralysis), so he concentrated on strengthening his good arm and contesting the Bent Press. He achieved a lift of 250 lbs. (Joe Nordquest held the US record of 277 1/2 lbs.). He was President of the Bent Press Club and helped revive popularity of this lift that was done by the old-time (starting in 19th Century) strongmen. In fact, Bill Raymond was a performing strongman himself, lifting as much as 100 pounds with his teeth! Reportedly his smallish partner in the act would jump from a height of about 14 feet and bounce off Bill’s abdomen. Raymond was able to stand erect with the thick-handled Rolandow 242-lb. dumbbell in his right hand (performed at Sig Klein’s Gym in New York City). Many of his contemporaries could barely get it off the floor for a few seconds.