Survival of the Strongest

Pasadena's Anthony Clark is the world's strongest man. You'd think that would make him famous. You'd be wrong.

And maybe it isn't, as his 1,000-pound squat wins him no special treatment. While he's talking to me, more obviously happy than I've ever seen him, his companions all leave. Just as Clark is about to hurry off, now late for an appointment, the gym manager shuffles over and semi-apologetically asks him to break down his weights. This strikes me as the equivalent of asking the world heavyweight boxing champion to make sure all the cups and gloves are put away, but Clark doesn't take offense. I help him unload one end of the barbell, then limp home with a sore back.

But my back hasn't begun to tighten up as we stand in the Gold's Gym parking lot, where Clark starts up his van from 50 feet. From a distance, I hear how its air-conditioning and stereo howl. Clark wants to keep enjoying his moment, but he has to force himself to hurry. "I'm going to be late," he says.

"Just tell them you're the World's Strongest Man," I suggest. "If you're late, it'll just have to be okay."

"I wish it worked like that," he answers, then climbs up into his singing van.

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