Still going strong

Reinhoudt named to top 10 Strongmen of the Century

Photos courtesy Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Fredonia native Don Reinhoudt, the former World’s Strongest Man, is seen in various photos from his powerlifting heyday. Reinhoudt was recently named one of the top 10 Strongmen of the Century by the International Powerlifting Federation.

Fredonia native and Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame Class of 1983 inductee Don Reinhoudt has been out of the world of strongman competition and competitive powerlifting for quite some time, but the honors just seem to keep coming.

While the 1979 CBS World’s Strongest Man title has long been one of many bright spots in Reinhoudt’s athletic resume, this month another crowning achievement was added.

As of a few weeks ago, Reinhoudt was named one of the top 10 all-time Strongmen of the Century according to the International Powerlifting Federation.

“I got it on Facebook and it came on that about a week and a half ago. So that is how I found out,” Reinhoudt said on Saturday evening. “I was the only American. There were some names of a lot of guys that I had never even heard of, some of the European competitors from the last 10 years or so.”

While the world of strongmen competition and powerlifting has continued to march forward in the decades since Reinhoudt’s competitive years, which included 61 world records, it is clear that some of the lifts that the 1983 Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame inductee made continue to leave their mark on history.

Of the dozens and dozens of lifting benchmarks that Reinhoudt has set in his career, there are plenty of marks that continue to impress against newer generations, such as the historic raw total of 2,391 pounds.

“To be very honest with you, I’ve been out of competition for about 40 years now. I just thought that my ship has sailed and, of course, there are nine guys that are much better than me with their totals. But it was very flattering. I guess I had forgotten that I did some pretty good lifts,” Reinhoudt said.

The numbers and records may speak for themselves, but what Reinhoudt enjoys as much as the recognition is the response that he has received from members of the community that he spent so many years working at Chautauqua County’s Youth Bureau.

When news of Reinhoudt’s latest honor became public, Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame president Randy Anderson posted it on the CSHOF Facebook page. Since then, the post has “reached” more than 19,000 people and has been “liked” nearly 350 times and shared more than 200 times.

Wrote one fan: “Chautauqua County has several notable people and I am so happy for you to be among them. Not only (are you) an amazing athlete, but a great humanitarian and a person our young people have looked up to and admired over the years. Congratulations!!!”

“With being on Facebook, it has been great to get some feedback from people,” said Reinhoudt. “It was kind of cool to be remembered like that, and to leave something behind in a positive way. I’ve always tried to set a good example over the years that I worked with kids.”