1940 Olympic Weightlifting Team

1940 Olympic Weightlifting Team

By Strength and Power Hall of Fame

 

The 1940 Summer Olympics were cancelled due to World War 2. The Summer Olympics were to be held in Helsinki Finland.

The Athletes

John Terry 132LB Class.

12/20/1908-4/1/1970

1936 Olympic Team 7th

1940 Olympic Team

1938  World Championship Team 5th

1938, 39, 40 &41 Senior National Champion 

1936 Seniors 2nd

1934 Seniors 2nd

1934 Jr. National Champion

World record holder snatch. 214 ¼ lbs 1938 World’s.  S&H 1/1939 Pg. 20.

World record holder several times in the deadlift.  His last record was 610 lbs. (S&H Magazine 9/1941 page 7).

 

Ralph Scull  132LB Class

1904-1951

1940 Olympic Team

1941 Seniors 4th

1940 Seniors 2nd

1939 Seniors 3rd

1938 Seniors 3rd

1941 Jr. National Champion

1937, 38, 39, 40 & 41 New Jersey State Champion

 

Anthony “Tony” Terlazzo 148Lb Class

7/28/1911-3/26/1966

1932, 1936 & 1940 Olympic Team

1st American to win an Olympic Medal Bronze 1932

1st American to win an Olympic Gold Medal 1936

1st American to set an official World Record in Olympic Weightlifting 209 ¾ Press

1935. (S&H 1/1936 page 14).

1st American to win a World’s Championship 1936 (The 1936 Olympics were also considered the Worlds. S&H 10/1936 pg. 20).

1st American to officially C&J double body weight

1938 1st World Championships

1937 1st World Championships

13X Senior National Champion 1932,33,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44 &45.

Set approximately 9 World Records. 

 1934 Seniors 2nd ( injured)

 

Casimir “Cass” Klosiewicz 148Lb Class

1921-3/24/1972

1940 Olympic Team

1940 Seniors 2nd

1941 Seniors 2nd

1941 Jr. Nationals 2nd***

1941&42 Senior Mid-Atlantic Champion

Delaware State Champion 1937, 38, 39, 40, 41

1939 Jr. Nationals 3rd

1948 Olympic Trials 4th

 

***2nd on BW

 

John Terlazzo 165Lb Class

8/31/1915 – 4/1/1999

1940 Olympic Team

1940 Seniors 3rd ***

1939 Seniors 3rd

1934  Jr. National Champion

1934 Seniors 4th

1935 Seniors 5th

1936 Seniors 6th

1937 Seniors 2nd

1938 Seniors 2nd

1939 Seniors 2nd

1941 Seniors 2nd

1937 8th World Championships

 

*** Joe Sklar from Canada finished 2nd on BW. 

 

John Terpak 165Lb Class

7/4/1912-6/1/1993

 

1936, 1940, 1948 Olympic Team

1936 Olympics 5th

1948 Olympics 4th***

1937 1st World Championships

1938 3rd World Championships

1946 2nd World Championships

1947 1st World Championships

11X Senior National Champion 1936,37,38,39,40,41,42,43,44,45&47

1935 Seniors 4th

1948 Seniors 2nd

1935 Jr. National Champion

Coach 1968 &1972 Olympic Teams and several World Championship teams.

 

*** In 1948 John reduced from 181 to 148 to help the US team win the team title. The weight loss greatly reduced his strength. John retired after the 48 Olympics.

 

John Davis 181Lb Class

1/12/1921- 7/13/1984

1940, 1948, 1952 Olympic Team

1948 Olympics 1st  Heavyweight

1952 Olympics 1st    Heavyweight

1938 1st World Championships Lightheavy

1946 1st World Championships

1947 1st World Championships

1948 1st World & Olympic Championships

1949 1st World Championships

1950 1st World Championships

1951 1st World Championships

1952 1st World and & Olympic Championships

1953 2nd World Championships

1951 1st Pan American Games

1938  Seniors 2nd

1955  Seniors 2nd

1956  Seniors 2nd

12X Senior National Champion 1939,40,41,42,43,46,47,48,50,51,52 & 53

1938 Jr. National Champion

Established 16 World Records and 8 unofficial

1st lifter to officially C&J 400Lbs, 1951 Seniors Los Angeles.

1st lifter to unofficially total 1,000lbs on the three Olympic lifts 2/1/1941.

 

Steve Gob (Gobb)(Gobrokovich) 181Lb Class

8/3/1915-8/29/2001

1940 Olympic Team

1940 Seniors 2nd

1941 Seniors 2nd

1940 Jr. National champion

Set at least one unofficial world record

 

Stephen Stanko Heavyweight

9/5/1917-12/31/1978

1940 Olympic Team

1938 2nd World Championships

3X Senior National Champion 1938, 1939, 1940

1941 Seniors 3rd ***

1938 Jr. National Champion

1st lifter to officially total 1,000lbs on the three Olympic lifts. 4/19/1941 Middle Atlantic Championships. Press 310 ½ Snatch 310 ½ Clean & Jerk 381 Total 1,002

Set 3 Unofficial World Records

First amateur lifter to unofficially C&J 400lbs. (York Gym 1941. S&H 1/1952 pg.10)

First American Lifter to Officially Press and Snatch 300lbs 4/19/1940. (S&H 2/1956 pg.53)

 

***Phlebitis affected Steve’s leg power. This was the end of his lifting career. 

 

Louis Abele Heavyweight

1919-1973

1940 Olympic team

1941 Seniors 2nd

1940 Seniors 2nd

1939 Seniors 2nd

1938 Seniors 3rd

1939 Jr. National Champion

Set at least one unofficial world record.

 

Additional Information

 

  1. There were no World Championships in 1939,40,41,42,43,44 &45. (WW2)

Who knows how many World and Olympic championships these lifters might have won.

  1. No World Records were established from 1939-1945. Several 1940 Olympic Team members established World Records at this time but their successful attempts were unofficial.
  2. A world record attempt required a unanimous decision by the judges to be approved.
  3. The bar touching the body during the pull for all 3 lift’s was cause for “no lift”.
  4. The Press was a strict military press.
  5. Travel was by car or bus in the US and Canada. Ship for overseas trips. No freeways in those days. The York lifters who traveled to Los Angeles in 1932 would spend the night sleeping on the side of the road to and from LA.
  6. Many lifters trained on common exercise sets. No Olympic bars and plates. 
  7. Information concerning some team members is scarce. Several did not return to lifting after the war. John Terlazzo (Tony’s younger brother) was badly wounded in 1943 in North Africa. 11/1949 S&H. He lost nearly all of his left calf and his left thigh was also shot up. He spent 16 months in the hospital, 10 of those in bed.
  8. In 1949 John Davis failed to get travel authorization from the AAU to travel to Dayton Ohio for a meet or exhibition. He was suspended by the AAU for one month causing him to miss the 1949 seniors. Apparently, a rival of the York BBC had “inquired” about this rarely followed and I suspect barely known rule. John served in the Pacific in WW2. While there he contracted malaria which affected him the rest of his life.
  9.  John Davis and John Terry were black and this caused them problems in some parts of the county. There were times when they had to sleep in their vehicles prior to a meet and would have to bring their own food and drink. The 1940 Jr’s were moved from Atlanta to Detroit for similar reasons. Bob Hoffman withdrew the York team thus the move to Detroit.
  10.  Steve Stanko developed phlebitis in both legs. This may have been due to a football injury in high school. (All State full back ). The disease began in 1940 and ended his career immediately after the 1941 Seniors. One week after the Seniors his legs were swollen to twice there normal size and he was bed ridden. His best friend John Grimek took Steve to the best doctors in the country but they could not make a diagnosis. The Mayo Clinic made the diagnosis of phlebitis. It was the worst case of phlebitis the Clinic had ever seen or heard of. The doctor told Steve it was a miracle he was still alive and he would never live to see his 40th birthday. Steve’s bodyweight dropped from 225-245 pounds  to 168 bed ridden pounds. He recovered enough to become a bodybuilder (1stMr. Universe 1947) but could do no heavy leg work.  I have never seen a more powerfully built lifter than Steve at his prime. His lifting career ended when he was 24 years old.
  11. Louis Abele was another powerfully built lifter. During and after the war Louis worked in his family’s construction business. Due to the growth of the company he was unable to return to the platform after the war.
  12. Steve Gob (Gobb) (Gobrokovich) had a very successful lifting career. He started in the early to mid-1930’s joining the Petridas athletic Club in Bayonne NJ. In 1940 Steve lifted in the New York Invitational Meet with a broken sternum. He finished 2nd as he could not take the pain after his 1st C&J. Steve tried to join the Navy when the war started but was turned down for lacking two molars. Steve then joined the Merchant Marine and was a musician aboard ship. After the war Steve turned to professional wrestling as a career. He had a successful career wrestling as Nicoli Volkoff a supposed Russian. Steve spoke fluent Russsian which was helpful when in character. Steve’s name was Steve Gobrokovich and why he took the short version Gob when lifting I’m not sure.
  13. Casimir Klosiewicz was from Delaware and was part of the D-day invasion force. He returned home and worked and retired from the Postal Service. After finishing 4th at the 1948 Olympic Trials Cass retired from competitive lifting but continued to coach local lifters for many years.
  14. John Terpak, Steve Stanko, Anthony Terlazzo, John Terlazzo, John Davis, John Terry and Ralph Scull all worked for various lengths of time for York Barbell.

 

 

SOURCES

 

Strength and Health (S&H) magazine 1934-1960

Legacy of Iron 5 volume set. Brooks D. Kubik (Google Brooks Kubik to view his website).

Black Iron The John Davis Story. Brooks D. Kubik.

Information on Steve Gobrokovich. E-mail dated 2/23/2020 from Brooks D. Kubik

Lift till ya die. Butch Curry’s website

Lift-up Arthur Childovski’s web site

 

 

Special Thanks to Rick Bucinell

 

Thank you for giving me the privilege of nominating the 1940 United States Olympic Weightlifting Team. It is an honor to nominate this group of athletes that were clearly the elite of their time nationally and internationally. I hope that we can give their achievements new life by inducting these incredible athletes into the Strength and Power Hall of Fame.

 

 

Author: By Strength and Power Hall of Fame | Created: Mon Mar 30 18:46:58 UTC 2020 | Last Updated: Sun Mar 21 13:40:48 UTC 2021