Anthony Terlazzo won more Senior Nationals than any other athlete is USA Weightlifting History – 13. He was also the very first American to win a World Championship (in 1937) and he was the first American to win an Olympics with the then official three lifts, in 1936.

The First Official National Championships in the US

The event accepted as the first official National Weightlifting Championships held in the US was conducted under the auspices of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), a multisport organization that governed most amateur sports in the US through much of the 20th century. Only men competed in that first year, which was 1928.

However, the “winners” of that initial championships were the athletes who had posted the highest totals in their respective bodyweight categories at local competitions sanctioned by the AAU, during that calendar year. We don’t have the results of those local competitions, but the following athletes posted the highest totals during that year, and were hence recognized as the National Champions:

ArnieSundberg1483/4 lb.Multnomah AC570 Lbs
B.McDowell1651/4 lb.Willoughby’s Gym570 Lbs
AlBevan1813/4 lbLos Angeles AC605 Lbs
TomTylerHeavyweightLos Angeles AC760 Lbs

The above totals were amassed using three lifts: The Two Hands Military Press, Snatch and the Clean & Jerk. Tyler’s winning total on the three lifts was not exceeded at another Nationals until 1936.  

The man who won the Heavyweight title was actor Tom Tyler, shown in the picture below. By the time he won the Nationals, Tyler had already become well known movie audiences, starring in many Westerns during the mid-1920s. He made a successful transition from silent movies to movies with sound, where he appeared as Captain Marvel in the film serial “The Adventures of Captain Marvel, in the early 1940s. He also had non-starring roles in such classic movies as Stagecoach and Gone With the Wind and the Grapes of Wrath. During the 1950s, he transitioned to TV roles, appearing in such TV classics as the Lone Ranger and the Roy Rogers show.

Tom Tyler

The champion in the 148 ¾ lb. bodyweight category in 1928, Arnie Sundberg, went on to win three more Nationals. He also represented the US at the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, where he placed 5th.  

The First Official Nationals Live Competition

All Nationals subsequent to 1928 were conducted live, the first in NYC, in 1929. The results of that event are shown below. At this competition, five lifts were contested. – the One Arm Snatch, the opposite arm One Arm Clean and Jerk, the two hands Military Press, the two hands Snatch and the two hands Clean and Jerk. This five lift format was also used at the Nationals in 1930, 1931, 1934 and 1935 as well (it was also used at the 1928 Olympics, to which the US did not send a Weightlifting team).  

First NameLast NameBodyweight CategoryClubTotalOne-arm SnatchOne-arm C&JPressSnatchC&J*  
RobertKnodle118 lb.Arcade AC, Hagerstown, MD682 Lbs104.5126.5143132176
A.Gaukler128 lb.German American AC, NY665 1/2 Lbs110126.5137.5121165
RichardBachtell1321/4 lb.Arcade AC. Hagerstown, MD852 1/2 Lbs143159.5154165225
MaxRohrer1483/4 lb.Cooper AC, Brooklyn, NY891 Lbs154176148.5170.5242
AdolphFaas1651/4 lb.Cooper AC, Brooklyn, NY902 Lbs143176176176231
AlbertManger1813/4 lbBaltimore, Md.957 Lbs143159.5198192.5264
WilliamRohrerHeavyweightCooper AC, Brooklyn, NY1045 Lbs170.5198187203.5286

*When the individual lifts shown above, and in the tables below for 1930 and 1931, do not add up to the total reported, that is because the total was taken from AAU records (which did not show the results in the individual lifts) but the results of the individual lifts were taken from Bob Hoffman’s book “Weightlifting”,  

The Nationals of 1930 was again held in NYC, and the winners were:

First NameLast NameBodyweight CategoryClubTotalOne-arm SnatchOne-arm C&JPressSnatchC&J  
RobertKnodle118 lb.Arcade AC, Hagerstown, MD715 Lbs110137.5148.5132187
J.ArthurLevan128 lb.Association of Bar Bell Men819 1/2 Lbs137.5137.5148.5170.5225.5
RichardBachtell1321/4 lb.Association of Bar Bell Men847 Lbs143165154165220
MaxRohrer1483/4 lb.Cooper AC, Brooklyn, NY935 Lbs154192.5159.5176253
ArnieSundberg 1651/4 lb.Multnomah AC968 Lbs159.5176165198269.5
William L.Good1813/4 lbUnattached, Reamstown, PA1017 1/2 Lbs159.5176203.5203.5275
AlbertMangerHeavyweightBaltimore YMCA, MD1001 Lbs148.5176209192.5275

The 1931 Nationals were held in Chicago and the winners were:

First NameLast NameBodyweight CategoryClubTotalOne-arm SnatchOne-arm C&JPressSnatchC&J  
RobertKnodle118 lb.Arcade AC, Hagerstown, MD715 Lbs110132148.5137.5187
ArtLevan126 lb.Reading, PA852 1/2 Lbs137.5148.5159.5176231
RichardBachtell1321/4 lb.Arcade AC852 1/2 Lbs154170.5154159.5214.5
GeorgeHorn1483/4 lb.German American AC, NY935 Lbs148.5165187192.5242
ArnieSundberg 1651/4 lb.Multnomah AC940 1/2 Lbs165176154187258.5
William L.Good1813/4 lbUnattached, Reamstown, PA1056 Lbs165198198209286
JospehMangerHeavyweightCooper AC, Brooklyn, NY784 1/2 Lbs154181.5198192.5269.5

The 1932 Nationals were held in York, PA, the first of many times York was to host a Nationals. The results were as follows (we’ve not been able to obtain the results in the individual lifts, but will continue to look for those results and would appreciate it if any of our website visitors can tell us where we might be able the find them). Three lifts were contested – the Press, Snatch and C&:J, all with two hands.

First NameLast NameBodyweight CategoryClubTotal
LucianLaPlante112 lb.West End AC, Gardner, MA470 Lbs.
JosephFiorito118 lb.Norristown, PA485 Lbs
J.ArthurLevan126 lb.Reading, PA540 Lbs
AnthonyTerlazzo1321/4 lb.New York City570 Lbs
ArnieSundberg1483/4 lb.Multnomah AC632 Lbs
StanleyKratkowski1651/4 lb.Detroit, MI680 Lbs
William L.Good1813/4 lbUnattached, Reamstown, PA715 Lbs
AlMangerHeavyweightBaltimore, MD704 Lbs

The Wonderful Addition of a Women’s Nationals

Judy Glenney was the outstanding lifter at the first Women’s Nationals, which were held in 1981. She went on to win three more Nationals, as well as five Master’s Nationals, a Master’s World Championship in 1997 and a World Masters Games in 1998. A former Chair of the USAW’s Women’s Committee, she became the first woman to officiate at a World Weightlifting Championships, at the 1987 World Championships..  

In 1981, history was made when the first Women’s Nationals was held in the US. The Women’s Championships started as a separate event (held at a different time of year and in a different venue). However, USAW agreed to hold these events together in 1988 on an “experimental” basis. This was because combining the women’s event with the men’s would require that the Nationals would run for more than the traditional weekend two days (a Friday was added for the women whose numbers were still relatively small at that time). That event was such as success that the combined approach has been used ever since, and was eventually adopted by the International Weightlifting Federation and the International Olympic Committee for their events.

Women’s Weightlifting has become so popular in the US that in recent years, more women have competed in the Nationals than men.

It should also be noted that the US hosted the very first IWF Women’s World Championship in Daytona Beach Florida in 1987. It too was conducted on an “experimental’ basis but was such a great success on many levels that the IWF made it a regular event, and women’s lifting was finally added to the Olympic Games in 2000.

Bodyweight Category Changes and Major Rule Changes

In the early twentieth century, as weightlifting was maturing as a sport, events and rules changed relatively often, and oftentimes significantly. For instance, weightlifting event of the Olympics of 1896 had only the one arm clean and jerk, and then the two arm clean and jerk. In 1920 there were three lifts, all done with two arms – the Press, Snatch and C&J. But in 1924 the One Arm Snatch and One Arm C&J were added to the event. In 1932, it was back to the three two arm lifts, where things remained until 1976, when the press was eliminated, leaving only the snatch and C&J, which has remained the rule since. Modern World Championships, which began in 1922 were conducted with three lifts from the outset, but removing the press beginning in 1973.

Throughout the history of modern lifting, competitions were conducted on barbells that could only be selected in 2.5 kg. increments – e.g., 100 kg., 102.5 kg., 105 kg. The only exception to this rule were attempts at world records, which only needed to exceed the existing record by .5 kg., but such increments were only recognized for record purposes. For instance, if the existing record was 150 kg., one could make a record at 150.5 kg, but only the 150 kg. would be recognized in that athlete’s total.

Then, effective May 1, 2005, the IWF changed the rules such that barbell weights could be increased by a kilo at a time in any competition (but a world record attempt also had to exceed the previous record by the same one kilo. That has remained the standard since. 

Bodyweight categories have changed a number of times across the years, sometimes in the US only, but generally in conjunction with changes adopted on the international level. Consequently, you’ll see a number of variations in the bodyweight categories in the results of the Nationals.

Summary of Major Event & Bodyweight Category Changes in US and World Weightlifting History

YearGovrn#LiftsGndrBodyweight Categgories
5.1.2005IWF2Both1 kg. barbell weight increments adopted, USAW adopted at 1986 Nationals 
2000OG2W485358636975+75Women added to OG
1928OG3 6067.57582.5+82.5     
1896, 1904 &1906OG No bodyweight categories – 2 lifts contested – One Hand Jerk and 2 Hand Jerk
Men’s & Women’s USAW Nationals were in same location & date beginning in 1988 &, in IWF WC began to be
held in the same place and time of year in 1991, except for the Olympic Years of 1992 and 1996, when women’s championships were held separately because women’s lifting was not yet part of the Olympic Games.

*Various events later adopted by IWF as “official” WC were held from 1891-1913 (4 in 1911, 3 in 1905, 2 in 2010).

The 1922 WC had 5 lifts – the one arm snatch and C&J, , the two hand – press, snatch and C&J, but in 1923 there were 4 lifts – the one arm snatch and C&J and the two hands press and C&J

There were no WC from 1924-1936, then they were held in 1937 & 1938 using 3 lifts, then the WC were paused for WW2. They resumed in 1946, then were held annually until diplomatic problems led to the cancellation of the 1967 event. WC were begun again in in 1969. No WC was held in the Olympic Year 1968 (not having an WC in an Olympic Games year was traditional at the time).

  Men’s 52 & 110 categories were added in 1969 and a 100 kg. in 1967. A women’s world championships added in 1987.
  OG= Olympic Games, FICH=Governing Body for World WL until a name change to IWF in the early 70s
  AAU was the original governing body for WL in the US, governance moving to the USAW in 1978
OWU= a change adopted by the IOC, IWF and USAW

For bodyweight categories from 1928 through 1970, categories are shown in pounds, which is how they were officially designated in the US through year end 1970. Beginning in 1971, both weights on the bar and bodyweight categories came into conformity with those of the IWF – that is, measured in kilos.

We hope that in reviewing these results you’ll enjoy your voyage through this part of the rich history of the sport.

A Special Note of Recognition for the Results Provided For 1933 Through 2017

More than 20 years ago, James “Butch” Curry, a two-time Senior National Weightlifting Champion, Olympian, 18 term LWC President of the Pacific Weightlifting Association and USAW Board Member, began publishing a website called “Lift Til Ya Die”. That site archived the results of national weightlifting championships, a list of USA Weightlifting Olympians and various other information on the sport he loved. Butch passed away in 2023, and his sister JoAnne Drechsler, and brother in law Artie Drechsler, promised Butch they’d publish his Nationals results, which ran from 1933 through 2017, on our website.

We’ve done this here. In addition, we’ve added results, to the extent available, for Nationals prior to 1933 (as shown above) and subsequent to 2017. We preserved what Butch created, as he created it, except when there was an obvious error (likely not his error but rather in the data that was reported by the publication he relied on). For instance, the 1936 National Champion in the 112 lb. bodyweight category was John Fritshe, not Fritzsce, as was originally shown on Butch’s page). We also made some formatting changes.

We expect to continue publishing the results of the Senior Nationals each year going forward. You can see those results, men’s alone from 1933 through 1980, when only men’s competitions were held, and women’s and men’s competitions combined in the years after 1980 (even if they were held at different locations and times of year, as they were from 1981 through 1987}. To see those results just click on the year of interest in the table below. We hope you enjoy looking at the history of US weightlifting from the vantage points of its Senior Nationals performances.