Sport: Historic Heave

Bob Backus, a spindly-framed youngster, was washed out of the Army Air Corps because he was underweight. Home again to Long Island, Backus got his back up and went to work with bar bells to build muscle and weight. He also began to fool around with the 35-lb. weightthrow, a track & field event normally reserved for bulge-bellied giants—in fact, the weight men are commonly called "whales." At Tufts College, Backus, still slim but taking on weight, became a better-than-average weight-thrower, but he was always in the shadow of his roommate Tom Bane, who in 1951 set a world record with...

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