Strongman and powerlifting are now well-established sports, but it took them some time to reach this point. Just a few decades ago, these sports were in the development phase, with some incredible athletes pushing them onto the main scene. One of those was Don Reinhoudt who lured many fans into both sports with his incredible feats of strength. Tragically, Don has passed away at the age of 78-years-old.
It is revealed by the New York state police that Don Reinhoudt passed away after a one-vehicle crash in Chautauqua County. The incident seemed to have happened after Don hit a tree with his car, while his passing was confirmed in the Brooks Memorial Hospital
Many powerlifting and Strongman athletes, like Ray Williams and Laurence “Big Loz” Shahlaei, have shared the news on Instagram, confirming that the unfortunate news is real.
“I was lucky enough to talk to Don a couple of times, and he was incredibly kind and a real gentleman with so many stories to share” wrote Big Loz.
“ I chased his records for most of my early lifting career. It is men like Don that made powerlifting the amazing sport it has grown into today,” wrote Ray Williams.
Don Reinhoudt’s Life and Career
Don Reinhoudt was born on March 5th, 1945, in Brocton, New York. He went on to have very successful teen years, becoming an All-League basketball player, an All-Western New York football player and an All-Western shot putter. In addition, Don was also a college football player, a part of the varsity track team, and also competed in Olympic Weightlifting. So, it is clear that Don was a man of many talents.
Don Reinhoudt excelled the most in two sports, the first being powerlifting. He began powerlifting in 1969 and after some training, he made his debut at the 1972 AAU Men’s World Powerlifting Championships. He finished in third place, just behind his two idols, John Kuc and Jim Williams.
After that, Don Reinhoudt took part in eight more competitions and won all of them. Most notably, he won four consecutive IPF Men’s World Powerlifting Championships from 1973-1976.
Don Reinhoudt set dozens of National and World records during his time in powerlifting, some of which stood for multiple decades.
Don Reinhoudt’s Raw Competition PRs
- Squat: 410 kilograms (903.9 pounds) – (1974 IPF Men’s World Powerlifting Championships)
- Bench press: 275 kilograms (606.2 pounds) – (1975 AAU Senior Nationals)
- Deadlift: 390 kilograms (860 pounds) – (1976 AAU Senior Nationals)
- Total: 1,042.5 kilograms (2,298.3 pounds) – (1974 IPF Men’s World Powerlifting Championships)
After finishing his career in powerlifting, Don Reinhoudt’s incredible strength was recognized by Strongman organizers. So, he was invited to compete in the first-ever edition of the World’s Strongest Man competition in 1977. Having lost over 100 pounds of bodyweight just one year before, Don declined, but revealed that he would compete in 1978.
The year 1978 rolled around and so did the second edition of the WSM. So, Don took part in the competition and was leading the pack until the final event – the tug of war. Unluckily, he lost balance and ended up losing to Bruce Wilhelm, who also won the competition in 1977.
Don Reinhoudt remained determined and came back in 1979 to compete at the WSM once again. This time he ended up taking the title, becoming only the second man in history to hold the most prestigious calling in Strongman.
Even after wrapping up his official career in Strongman and Powerlifting, Don Reinhoudt continued impressing people with feats of strength like picking up people with his teeth, hammering nails in wooden boards with his bare hands, and more. So, with everything that Don has accomplished in his career, he will be an inspiration for generations to come.
Fitness Volt is expressing our condolences to the family and friends of Don Reinhoudt. May he rest in peace.