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In Memoriam: Dr. Terry Todd (1938–2018) Pioneering Powerlifter, Writer, Sport Promoter, and Historian Who Changed the Cultural Paradigm for Strength

Shurley, Jason P.

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Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: November 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 11 - p 2995-3003
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000002917
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“Don't Weaken.” Pencils adorned with the phrase are found in small holders throughout the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports at The University of Texas at Austin (UT). The phrase is actually shorthand for a favorite saying of Dr. Terry Todd, one of the Center's directors, the fuller version of which is “it's a good life if you don't weaken.” Indeed, the Stark Center itself is a physical representation of Dr. Todd's commitment to that axiom. What began in the late 1950s as his relatively small collection of magazines and books related to strength training and physical culture, evolved into a library unlike any other in the world by 2009. Along with his wife, Dr. Jan Todd, Terry Todd established the Stark Center as a library and research center dedicated to the history of strength and physical culture. Occupying more than 27,500 square feet in the north endzone of UT's football stadium, and home to more than 30,000 volumes, the Stark Center is the largest facility of its kind, regularly visited by scholars from around the world (18).

Dr. Terry Todd passed away on July 7, 2018 due to complications from a heart attack (15). As he was, the Stark Center is larger than life and full of amazing stories about strength. While it is tempting to point to such a unique mecca of muscle as Dr. Todd's legacy, indeed he called it his most significant accomplishment, that would sell him far short. His full impact is found among the hundreds he coached, the thousands he taught, and the untold numbers who read his books, magazine, and journal articles, and watched his films. Dr. Todd was a physical and figurative giant in the world of strength, and his will be an enduring legacy in the world of physical culture.

Early Years

Terry Todd was born in Beaumont, Texas on January 1, 1938 to B.C. Todd and Ima Williams Todd. Eight years later, in 1946, the family moved to Austin where Terry attended public schools and participated in a wide variety of athletic contests. As a boy, he was a standout in youth baseball, a 3-time winner of the city-wide Cheerio-Top Yo-Yo competition, and winner of several city table tennis championships in high school (15). When not on the diamond or yo-yoing, Terry could often be found lying on the couch of his paternal grandparents, reading from a host of novels housed on shelves in their living room. In particular, Terry enjoyed the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs, whose famous characters included Tarzan and the adventurer of Mars, John Carter. More than the primary protagonists, however, Terry was taken by the stories' supporting casts that included immense and physically strong aliens, dogs, elephants and gorillas. The stories provided an early spark for what would become a lifelong fascination with strength. So engrossed was Terry in the stories that his grandparents joked that the only way they could tell if he “had passed out or on,” was when he either blinked or turned a page (51).

In addition to works of fiction, Terry was inspired by the more tangible strength of his maternal grandfather, whom Terry would accompany on hunting trips. Sitting in a river bottom pecan grove, quietly waiting for their quarry, “Papa” leaned over and picked up a hard-shell pecan. Gesturing to Terry, he placed it between his thumb and index finger and cracked the shell. “Very few men can do that,” he informed a wide-eyed Terry with a smile, “and no boys” (49,52). Even at the height of his strength almost a decade-and-a-half later, and with 4 inches and nearly 100 pounds on Papa, Terry recalled that he was never able to perform the feat his grandfather had with such ease.

On the tennis court, however, Terry did perform with relative ease. His father taught him the game on the public courts of South Austin's parks and, by high school, Terry was a standout. He lettered in tennis at Travis High School and earned a scholarship offer to play tennis at UT. In the summer of 1956, before he enrolled at the university, Terry took up weight training, not to improve his tennis game, but instead to increase the size of his left arm. Due to his years of tennis training, Terry joked that he looked like a crawfish whose claw had been broken off and only half grown back (11). To bring his undersized left arm back in line with his dominant right, he began a program of curls, presses, and other barbell exercises. When he began school that fall, Terry tipped the scales at 195 pounds. His coach, Wilmer Allison, noticed his increased size with disapproval. Allison, like many coaches of his day, believed that weight training would result in a muscle-bound athlete who was slow and inflexible due to the added bulk. As a result of this misplaced concern, Allison gruffly informed Todd that he would have to abandon his weight training (54).

From experience, however, Todd knew better. Though he had added 30 pounds by his freshman year, he was quicker than before he took up barbells and played better tennis. So, despite his coach's admonishment, Todd continued lifting. Fortuitously, he met Roy “Mac” McLean, an instructor and former wrestling and cross-country coach who oversaw the physical training classes at UT (43). In addition, McLean had a significant collection of physical culture magazines and books, which Todd read in the afternoons in his study. It was in that study that Todd say his love of strength truly blossomed as he read stories of legendary strongmen and contemporary weightlifters in the pages of Strength & Health, Iron Man, and Muscle Power (53). As he became increasingly enamored of weight training, Todd registered for competitions though, to avoid detection by Allison, always under an assumed name. His favorites were “Paul Hepburn” and “Doug Anderson” transpositions of Paul Anderson and Doug Hepburn the top 2 super-heavyweight lifters of the day (54).

By his junior year Todd's physique was far from the skinny, lanky build of a typical tennis player, and his coach issued an ultimatum: give up the weights or give up tennis (27). Having already lettered, Todd forfeited his scholarship to concentrate on lifting. By the time he quit the tennis team, Todd tipped the scales at a muscular 240 pounds, making him larger than any man on the football team except one, who weighed 245 (54). By 1961, he had grown to more than 270 pounds when he was summoned by not-yet legendary Texas football coach Darrell Royal for an “off the record” meeting. Royal had seen Todd play tennis and was aware of his athleticism as well as his strength training habits through talks with some of the football players. What Royal wanted to know, was whether the type of training Todd performed could help his players improve, coming off of a disappointing 1960 season (54).

Versed in the testimonials of athletes in the pages of muscle magazines, as well as his own training experience, Todd argued that heavy weight training would be a wise addition to the football program. As evidence, he pointed to shot putter Parry O'Brien, Red Sox outfielder Jackie Jensen, Chicago Bears offensive lineman Stan Jones, and Houston Oilers running back Billy Cannon, who had won the Heisman trophy 2 years prior at Louisiana State University. All were “barbell men,” featured in Strength & Health, and Todd noted that he could even jump higher weighing 270 than he could before he started training and weighed 195 (54). While Royal was eager to implement heavy weight training with his Longhorn team, he was hesitant to anger the team's long-time athletic trainer, Frank Medina, who adamantly believed that heavy training would decrease the quickness of football players. Based on an early 1950s film about the training employed by Northwestern University during their most successful seasons, which promoted light weights and high repetitions, Medina asserted, “a pair of 20 or 25 pound dumbbells is enough for anybody, no matter how big or strong he is” (43). Such was Medina's political influence that it would be several more seasons before Royal was able to implement heavy training for the Longhorns, and when he did, Todd himself chronicled the program in the pages of Strength & Health (28).

Late in the spring of 1961, Todd completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English at UT, though he stayed in Austin to begin working on his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in the interdisciplinary “History and Philosophy of Education” program. In addition to his studies and serving as a teaching assistant in physical training, Todd progressed in his own lifting career. Weighing just short of 300 pounds, the “ponderous” Terry Todd captured his first major title in 1963, winning the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) junior national weightlifting championship (10). The same meet also featured a physique competition following the weightlifting, as well as an emerging type of strength contest: powerlifting. With particularly large biceps and forearms, Todd had some difficulty catching the “clean” when performing the “clean and jerk” Olympic lift and knew that his ability to succeed in the sport would be constrained. As a result, he transitioned to the new sport of powerlifting, winning the first men's national championships in the event in 1964. He followed by winning the first Senior Nationals in 1965. As a powerlifter, Todd held 15 records at 1 time or another and was the first man to squat 700 pounds, as well as the first to total 1,600, 1,700, 1,800, and 1,900 pounds. His best official lifts included a 720-pound squat, 515-pound bench press, and 742-pound deadlift (16).

While working on his doctorate, Todd moved to York, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1964 to take over as managing editor for Strength & Health magazine. Along with his editorial duties and writing for the magazine, he was tasked with coordinating research projects for the Bob Hoffman Foundation. His most important impact at the magazine, however, was helping to define the new sport of powerlifting in its formative years. In addition to writing about powerlifting in both Strength & Health and Muscular Development, the massive 340-pound Todd himself was often the subject of articles and photos and featured lifting massive weights. The articles captured the imagination of many and inspired readers to take up the emerging sport (4). With championships in both powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting, a 1966 Muscular Development article noted that Todd had the highest combined total of any lifter, making him the best of the “Supermen of the Iron Game” (4).

Early Academic Career

Also in 1966, Todd completed his Ph.D. His dissertation, titled, “The History of Resistance Exercise and Its Role in United States Education” was a landmark in the field as one of the first academic treatments on the history of resistance training (29). Beginning with the ancient Egyptians and continuing through the mid-20th century, the manuscript explored the history of resistance exercise, numerous training methods, famous strongmen, the interaction between strength training and athletics, and the use of resistance training in physical education. After its completion, Todd accepted a position in the College of Education at Auburn University. The new position marked the end of his tenure as a magazine editor and the end of his competitive powerlifting career. Though he continued to lift for the rest of his life, by the time he was preparing to enter this new phase of his career, Todd decided that he had “fulfilled [his] curiosity about becoming big and strong” and devoted himself to his academic work (9).

While ultimately known for his contributions to the world of strength sports and their history, Todd's focus in his earliest academic positions was the improvement of American schools. After 3 years at Auburn, Todd accepted a position at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia. There he served as an Associate Professor of Education, Physical Education and Sociology. Despite having slimmed down to 250-pounds since his competitive days, Todd stood out on campus not only for his exceptional size, but also for his commitment to activist causes and civil rights, playing a leading role in founding the university's African American Studies program in 1969. He also ran a series of summer seminars on educational reform, convincing luminary educational theorists John Holt, James Herndon, and Edgar Friedenberg, considered by some to be the most important public intellectuals on school reform of the era, to come and speak (15). Decades later, Mercer students still recalled the first time they formally met Todd in a freshman seminar. The title of the talk was “The Educational Value of Hucking Around,” a consideration of Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and adolescent development. At a small Baptist college in that era, the title proved both risqué and unforgettable.

At Mercer, Terry Todd met Jan Suffolk. As one of the many students sitting in the seminar, Jan knew of Todd, but it was at an end-of-season intramural softball party 3 years later that she truly made an impression on him. Todd played host for the party and as the athletes sat and chatted atop stacks of logs he had recently cut following an unseasonal ice storm, the talk turned to contests of strength; specifically, to caber tossing (30). Most of the party-goers were unfamiliar with this mainstay of the Scottish Highland Games in which an athlete stands a log upright, walks a few steps and then tosses the log end-over-end for distance, but they were eager to pit themselves against one of the logs. After a reasonably heavy specimen was pulled from the stack, faculty and students alike tried their hand at giving it flight. Notably, however, all of the participants were male. After a member of the philosophy faculty failed repeatedly to flip the log, Jan— then a junior working on a double major in philosophy and English—stepped forward to attempt the feat. She made short work of the timber, flipping it on her first try. “As near as I can tell,” Todd would later write, “that was the day I began to love her” (30).

In spite of his official retirement from competitive lifting and his academic work which was, at best, tangentially related, Terry still felt called to be involved with the “iron game.” After a brief interlude in the late 1960s, he began once again to write articles on powerlifting in 1971 for Muscular Development and Iron Man magazines (16). In those pages, Todd wrote instructional articles but, more importantly, he covered major powerlifting contests. Moonlighting as a sportswriter, Todd's articles were different from typical meet recaps; his told a story. Drawing on his own experience as a champion lifter, Todd crafted dramas through his retelling of the meet's events and included personal vignettes of many of the lifters involved. “When he shows up to an event,” legendary powerlifter Larry Pacifico wrote, “that event becomes more important because lifters know that what they do with him watching will live on through his accurate, honest words” (16). Such was Todd's presence, that Pacifico claimed it inspired lifters to heft more pounds than they thought possible just because they wanted to see how he would write about them.

One lifter about whom he would write voluminously was Jan after their marriage in 1973. After they began dating Jan started to accompany Terry to the weight room, partly out of curiosity, as lifting weights was Terry's form of recreation, and she was interested to learn more. Initially, she lifted light weights for high repetitions, attempting to correct her posture and fearful of adding bulk. During winter break that year, Jan accompanied Terry back to Austin to visit with his family for Christmas. While they were there, they dropped by one of his old haunts, the Texas Athletic Club, where Jan watched as a petite woman who weighed no more than 125-pounds deadlift 225-pounds. The woman was a competitive powerlifter; Jan struck up a conversation with her and, before she left, had pulled 225 herself (27). On the way home, she quizzed Terry about weight training and he was only too eager to share.

He told Jan of Katie Sandwina, the legendary strongwoman who performed in circuses at the turn of the 20th century. Sandwina's signature feats included carrying a 600-pound cannon on her back, bending iron, and juggling her much smaller husband—as if she was doing the manual of arms with a rifle. Once at home, Terry showed Jan stories in muscle magazines and old books about other early women strength performers. They also came across a page in the Guinness Book of World Records that listed the heaviest deadlift ever performed by a woman, a lift made by Mlle Jane de Vesley of France in 1926, at 392-pounds. Though the record had stood for nearly half a century, Jan stared at the page momentarily before pronouncing excitedly, “I think I can beat that” (27,30). With that declaration, Terry Todd, lifting champion, academic, and writer, took on a new role he would continue to perform for the rest of his life: coach.

When they returned to Georgia, they crafted a plan to get Jan to her goal. After 16 months of training with Terry at a gym in downtown Macon, the 2 traveled to Chattanooga, Tennessee for Jan's first powerlifting meet in May of 1975. After a heavy warm-up for her first attempt, Jan broke de Vesley's record with her second, pulling 394.5-pounds and re-writing the Guinness Book (30). As they were preparing for the meet, Terry had been offered a new academic post as an Associate Professor of Educational Sociology at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS, Canada. In the fall of 1975, they packed their belongings and moved to Canada where they soon purchased a 185-acre farm near New Germany, Nova Scotia. While Terry pursued his university career and Jan taught high school English, they also worked their land with draft horses, lived in a house with only wood stoves for heat, and raised most of what they ate on their own land (17). Terry continued his writing in a chicken house that he converted into a makeshift office (24). At a desk below a suspended bag of seed, stored safely from hungry rodents, Terry wrote his first 2 books: Fitness for Athletes, and the influential Inside Powerlifting (30,55). The latter of the 2 was the first book written about the nascent strength sport. In that work, his masterful storytelling is in full evidence as he detailed the history of the competition, described the events, detailed training routines, and profiled 9 elite lifters, including Jan.

In addition to his academic duties at Dalhousie and his writing Terry, along with Jan, coached lifters at both Dalhousie University and in New Germany, Nova Scotia, where the Todds and their high school team trained in the back of Jan's classroom. During that time they also helped organize the first national women's powerlifting meet in the United States in 1977 (63). Along with the collegiate and interscholastic lifters, Terry continued to coach Jan and helped organize her training. At a meet in Newfoundland, in June 1977, Jan totaled a then world-record 1,041 pounds in the 3 competitive powerlifts (17,30). Not only was it a world record but shattered the previous mark by nearly 100-pounds. The accomplishment led to a feature article in Sports Illustrated (SI) in which Jan was dubbed the strongest woman in the world (17). Following the article, the couple was invited to New York City for a series of television appearances, and a visit to the SI offices. After chatting with the magazine's editors, Terry was asked to write an article on arm wrestling champion Al Turner (31). More assignments followed and Terry wrote voluminously for the magazine in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Among those articles was a profile of powerlifter Lamar Gant, a lifter in the 123 and 132-pound weight classes with the rare distinctions of having won more than 9 world titles and deadlifting of more than 5 times his own bodyweight (40). In addition to covering Gant in Muscular Development and Sports Illustrated, Todd coached Gant after he and Jan moved back to Auburn University in 1979. After 4 years in Canada, the Todds were drawn back to the United States by the prospect of starting the National Strength Research Center at Auburn. Along with exercise scientists Mike Stone, John Garhammer and Tom McLaughlin, Todd organized research and coached athletes. Those athletes ranged from elite powerlifters like Gant and Bill Kazmaier to intercollegiate lifters, Auburn varsity female athletes, and more. With his growing reputation as an expert on strength, and his melodic baritone voice that once prompted an attendee at an academic conference to declare that she would gladly listen to him read the phone book, Todd was regularly invited to serve as a color commentator for NBC, CBS and other networks, when powerlifting appeared on TV (2,8). He was also involved with the early broadcasts of the “World's Strongest Man” contest and, in the early 1980s, worked as CBS television's “Consultant on Strength Sports,” organizing “The Strongest Man in Football Contest,” for the network between 1980 and 1982 (19).

Gone to Texas (Late Academic Career)

After 4 years at Auburn, Terry took a position at his alma mater, The University of Texas, in 1983. Because he was heavily involved with Sports Illustrated and CBS at the time, Todd joined the faculty as a lecturer, in order to have the academic freedom to pursue his career as a broadcaster and journalist. By then, the Todds had also amassed more than 380 boxes of books and magazines related to the field of physical culture and strength training and had begun to dream of establishing a special library. Terry continued to write for SI, profiling powerlifters Larry Pacifico and Lamar Gant; writing about pro football players and their training habits, including Herschel Walker, Bob Young, and Dave Rimington, and covering the Bulgarian Olympic weightlifting champion whom he would dub the “vest-pocket Hercules”-- Naim Suleimanov (32,35,36,39). But it was his writing about wrestler Andre Roussimoff, better known as “Andre the Giant,” that became one of his most talked-about pieces, even running later as a re-print in Readers Digest magazine (33,34). One of his most influential articles, however, was not a profile but a discussion of the growing prevalence of anabolic steroids in elite sports (37). Todd outlined the emerging “steroid predicament,” examining the history of the drugs, their use in a variety of sports, their effects, and the lengths to which athletes are willing to go to win. The article was met with applause from readers in the following issues of SI and came to be considered one of the most important on doping in the 1980s (5).

Todd also brought his discussion of anabolic steroids into academic circles, calling them “the Gremlins of Sport,” and detailing their development and proliferation in the Journal of Sport History (42). He co-authored 2 more books in the mid-1980s, both related to training methods (27,61). The first detailed the training techniques of Herschel Walker while the second, was based on research he helped perform while at Auburn. Co-authored with Jan, Lift Your Way to Youthful Fitness was based on studies done with sedentary, middle-aged men and women. In light of the success of the training interventions, readers were instructed about the importance of maintaining strength to stave off age-related declines. In addition to writing about the utility of weight training for adults, he wrote about weight training for athletes in the NSCA Journal (renamed Strength and Conditioning Journal).

Having experienced first-hand the prejudice and fears about weight training for athletes in the mid-20th century, Todd made sure strength coaches were aware of the field's evolution in one of his seminal articles, “The myth of the muscle-bound lifter” (41). In addition to fearing weights more generally, some coaches were specifically reticent about the squat exercise fearing, based on research dating back to the 1960s, that it was harmful for an athlete's knee ligaments. In another widely read piece, Todd provided historical context for the idea, discussing the original research and helping to give strength coaches background on that “myth” as well, should they encounter a coach apprehensive having their athletes squat (38). Through that work, he and Jan came to the realization that there was a need for an outlet on the history of physical culture (56). Until the mid-1980s, magazines like Strength & Health and Iron Man had included historical features but the former folded in 1986 and the latter had phased them out. Academic journals, like those of the NSCA and the Journal of Sport History, would publish work on the history of physical culture, but it was relatively atypical. Seeking to create an academic journal dedicated to the history of physical culture, Terry and Jan assembled and editorial board and began publishing Iron Game History: The Journal of Physical Culture in 1990. With that, they added “editor” to their long list of responsibilities, one which continues to this day as Iron Game History nears 30 years of publication.

As he had at Auburn, Todd coached the powerlifting team along with Jan, continuing in that role for 10 years and leading the Longhorn team to multiple national championships (63). In the middle of that run at the Texas high school state powerlifting championships, the Todds met a young man of unparalleled strength (25). At 18, Mark Henry was a 3-time state champion in powerlifting who could squat and deadlift over 800, while bench pressing more than 500. Terry thought, given Henry's flexibility, that he would make an equally outstanding Olympic weightlifter and convinced him to move to Austin to train and attend college. Within 2 years, Henry was a 2-time Olympian, competing at both the Barcelona Games in 1992 and Atlanta Games in 1996. Five years later, in 2001, Terry was asked by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer to create a professional strongman contest for the “Arnold Classic” (52).

At the initial contest in 2002, Todd invited athletes from powerlifting, weightlifting, and the sport of strongman in the hope of truly identifying the world's strongest man. He also chose events that used genuinely heavy weights moved over short distances to more accurately measure strength—and not muscular endurance. Mark Henry claimed the first “Arnold Strongman Classic” title, and over the next 17 years as the sport of strongman grew internationally, The Arnold Strongman Classic was recognized as the most important contest in the sport of strongman. Moreover, Todd's influence on the sport was hailed as being transformative (3). Todd took particular pride in the fact that each year after the Arnold Classic was over, the giant athletes are taken to Dr. Bill Kraemer's lab at Ohio State University for medical examinations, blood work, body composition analysis, and other diagnostic tests that help these unique athletes monitor their health.

As Jan entered graduate school and began working on a Ph.D. specializing in sport history, she and Terry became frequent collaborators on academic articles covering all aspects of the history of strength and conditioning. To that end, they authored a series of articles for the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR) on the scientific pioneers who studied the phenomenon of human strength. In that series, the Todds profiled physiologists Peter Karpovich, Richard Berger, Herbert deVries, and Pat O'Shea (57–60). Then, in an article selected as a Dudley Memorial Paper in JSCR, the Todds and co-author Jason Shurley explored the contributions of physician Thomas DeLorme, who provided medical validation for intense strength training (26). The trio also covered the important role of the NSCA in generating and disseminating research related to strength training and athletic performance, and have written a book on the history of the strength coaching profession in America that will be released in 2019 (21,22). In Iron Game History, Terry wrote voluminously about the history of strength training for athletes, strongmen, weightlifters, bodybuilders and other legends of days past, publishing more than 66 articles in that journal (43–49).

In 2009, Terry and Jan Todd moved their now much larger collection (more than 3,000 boxes of magazines and books related to physical culture and sport, thousands of photographs and a large assortment of antique barbells, dumbbells, and various other exercise implements) into a more fitting location in the newly-constructed north endzone of the UT football stadium (50). Since then, Terry has served as a co-director, along with Jan, of the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. Designated one of only 3 Olympic Studies Centers in the United States, the facility is truly world-class and one of which Terry was duly proud.


“Properly done,” Terry wrote, “weights can work magic. I know.” Through his work, so do we. At final tally, he authored or co-authored more than 500 articles in popular magazines and academic journals, and 7 books (7,22,27,30,55,61,62). He was inducted into numerous halls of fame, including the International Sports Hall of Fame, and the halls of both men's and women's powerlifting (15). He received the National Strength and Conditioning Association's highest honor—the Al Roy Award—in 2017; was honored as a “Legend” by the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association in 2009, and, in 2013, received the Honor Award of the North American Society for Sport History for his contributions to that academic field (1,12,15). He was a champion of 2 different strength sports, setting 15 records along the way. He was a coach of some of the most elite lifters in the world, as well as many who just wanted to learn how to get a little bit stronger. He created and directed strongman contests, was a commentator on national television broadcasts, wrote reams of popular press and academic articles, and also taught undergraduate kinesiology and introductory weight training courses for decades. Through years of collecting, acquiring, and fundraising, he and Jan turned an assortment of books and magazines on physical culture into an archive like no other.

The reason he was truly a legend and a pioneer, however, is that he made strength approachable. Terry told the story of strength training's evolution from a curiosity in the early 20th century to a pillar of health, fitness and sport programs in the 21st. He explored Americans' simultaneous fascination with strength and their hesitation to take up the implements that produced it. Through his intelligence and welcoming personality, he led by example in bringing weight training out of the dark ages. He was able to demonstrate through his own experience that weights did not hurt athletic performance and he told others at every opportunity. Through his wit and charisma, he disabused many of the notion that weight trainers were unintelligent eccentrics. Through his writing and broadcasting, he brought his awe of strength into living rooms across the country. He had a deep admiration for physical power and a respect for those who possessed it, which enabled him to show the human side of strength in a way few others could. That wonder made it more palatable and interesting for a lay audience who would not otherwise be engaged by the strength aspect of sports. Even academics were swayed, as he helped bring research on strength training into academic respectability by providing historical context.

True to the aphorism, Terry did not weaken and was still hard at work this summer. He had already begun preparation for the 2019 Arnold Strongman Classic. In addition, he recently added “producer” to his lengthy curriculum vitae, serving in that capacity for a series of documentaries sponsored by the equipment manufacturer, Rogue Fitness. Those films include Levantadores, about stone lifting in Spain, Stoneland, covering strength traditions in Scotland, and Fullsterkur, a forthcoming film discussing the strength traditions of Iceland, as well as profiles of Eugen Sandow and Louis Uni (6,13,14,20,23). His final book, Strength Coaching in America: A History of the Most Important Sport Innovation of the Twentieth Century, on which he is a co-author along with Jason Shurley and Jan Todd, is due out in 2019 (22). As a long-time friend observed when they learned of his passing, “It may seem that our world is a bit weaker today but actually we are all immeasurably and eternally stronger for having known him” (15).


Donations may be made to the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports in honor of Dr. Todd by using the Donate Now button on the front page of the Stark Center website (


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31. Todd TC. Arming himself for the fray. In: Sports Illustrated, 1978. pp. 56–64.
32. Todd TC. Still going strong. In: Sports Illustrated, 1980. pp. 47–67.
33. Todd TC. To the giant among us. In: Sports Illustrated, 1981. pp. 76–92.
34. Todd TC. A giant among us. In: Reader's Digest, 1982. pp. 114–118.
35. Todd TC. My body's like an army. In: Sports Illustrated, 1982. pp. 94–108.
36. Todd TC. A man of heft who's also deft. In: Sports Illustrated, 1982. pp. 40–45.
37. Todd TC. The steroid predicament. In: Sports Illustrated, 1983. pp. 62–78.
38. Todd TC. Karl Klein and the squat. Strength Cond J 6: 26–31, 1984.
39. Todd TC. Behold Bulgaria's vest-pocket Hercules. In: Sports Illustrated, 1984. pp. 32–46.
40. Todd TC. He bends but he doesn't break. In: Sports Illustrated, 1984. pp. 46–62.
41. Todd TC. The myth of the muscle-bound lifter. Strength Cond J 7: 37–41, 1985.
42. Todd TC. Anabolic steroids: The gremlins of sport. J Sport Hist 14: 87–107, 1987.
43. Todd TC. The history of strength training for athletes at the University of Texas. Iron Game Hist 2: 6–13, 1993.
44. Todd TC. Remembering Bob Hoffman. Iron Game Hist 3: 18–23, 1993.
45. Todd TC. Paul Anderson: 1932-1994. Iron Game Hist 3: 1–3, 1994.
46. Todd TC. The expansion of resistance training in US higher education through the mid-1960s. Iron Game Hist 3: 11–16, 1994.
47. Todd TC. The PGA Tour's traveling gym—how it began. Iron Game Hist 3: 14–19, 1994.
48. Todd TC. John Grimek—The man. Iron Game Hist 5: 1–5, 1999.
49. Todd TC. The quest for the quarter master. Iron Game Hist 9: 21–31, 2005.
50. Todd TC. Announcing the H.J. Lutcher Stark Center for Physical Culture and Sports. Iron Game Hist 9: 1–6, 2007.
51. Todd TC. Books. Blog: Don't Weaken, 2009. Available at: Accessed August 8, 2018.
52. Todd TC. Philosophical and practical considerations for a strongman contest. In: Philosophical Reflections on Strength. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen, 2010. pp. 49–88.
53. Todd TC. Helping hands. In: Blog: Don't Weaken, 2010. Available at: Accessed August 8, 2018.
54. Todd TC. Memories of Coach Darrell K. Royal. Iron Game Hist 12: 1–6, 2013.
55. Todd TC, Hoover D. Fitness for Athletes. Chicago, IL: Contemporary Books, 1978.
56. Todd TC, Todd JS. Editorial—A statement of purpose. Iron Game Hist 1: 1, 1990.
57. Todd TC, Todd JS. Pioneers of strength research: The legacy of Dr. Richard A. Berger. J Strength Cond Res 15: 275–278, 2001.
58. Todd TC, Todd JS. Dr. Patrick O'Shea: A man for all seasons. J Strength Cond Res 15: 401–404, 2001.
59. Todd TC, Todd JS. Herbert A. deVries: 60 years of exercise and science. J Strength Cond Res 16: 5–8, 2002.
60. Todd TC, Todd JS. Peter V. Karpovich: Transforming the strength paradigm. J Strength Cond Res 17: 213–220, 2003.
61. Walker H, Todd TC. Herschel Walker's Basic Training. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1985.
62. Walker H, Todd TC. Herschel Walker's Basic Training. Revised Edition. New York, NY: Doubleday, 1989.
63. Women's Hall of Fame—2004: Terry Todd. In: USA Powerlifting. Available at: Accessed August 8, 2018.
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