Everything You Wanted To Know About the Strongman Mark Henry

Everything You Wanted To Know About the Strongman Mark Henry

 

 

Mark Henry is a strongman that is widely regarded as the 'Strongest Man in the World', although there is some debate as to whether certain other strongmen have higher totals. He is certainly up there near the top of any strongman lists, and he has had an interesting career, branching out from powerlifting and strongman competitions to wrestle in the WWE for over a decade.

Name: Marcus Jerrold Henry
Born: 12 June 1971
Birthplace: Silsbee, Texas, USA
Sports: Weightlifting, Powerlifting, Strongman
Also Known For: Professional Wrestling

Competitive Background

Mark Henry has a long history as a competitive weightlifter and powerlifter, as well as a strongman. He competed as a super-heavyweight in the Olympics in 1992 and 1996, placing 10th and 14th respectively. He also took part in the Pan American Games in 1995, collecting three weightlifting medals, including a gold in the snatch. His weightlifting career included many other titles in the juniors and seniors.

While weightlifting is the sport which saw most of his major achievements, he was also a successful powerlifter, earning the International Junior Powerlifting title in 1991, as well as the WDFPF title in 1995 and the USAPL National title in 1997. He made the transition to strongman after that and won the 2002 Arnold Strongman Classic.

Mark is the only person who has ever successfully squatted and deadlifted more than 900lbs without a suit in the same powerlifting meet.

It was this breadth of achievements across strength sports which earned him the name of "strongest man in the world". He transitioned to World Wrestling Entertainment in 1996 where he performed as a professional wrestler. He took on the nickname sexual chocolate while playing the role of a member of Nation of Domination. That storyline lasted for roughly two years before he left to take part in strongman events, and then returned to the WWE in 2002. His character became Heavyweight Champion in 2011, but he lost the title to Big Show in a rematch in 2012. He also earned the WWF European Championship and the ECW Championship. His career, however, was plagued by injuries.

Personal Life

Mark Henry was born in 1971 in Silsbee, He was never academic, and was always interested in sports. His father, Ernest died when Mark was aged 12. Two years later, Mark was diagnosed as having dyslexia.

Mark had always been a fan of professional wrestling, and he was a big fan of Andre the Giant. This fostered an interest in weightlifting and strength training, and Mark took up those sports competitively. He achieved national recognition, and the LA Times called him the "World's Strongest Teenager".

He started powerlifting when he was in High School, and racked up several state championships and some impressive totals along the way. It was those high school performances which earned him the attention of Terry Todd, who offered to train him in Olympic Weightlifting in Austin. By the age of 24, he had earned the title of Strongest Man in the World, having an unbeaten total in the five competitive lifts that are seen in weightlifting and powerlifting.

In spite of that impressive title, his performance at the Olympic Games in 1996 was underwhelming. Standing at 6"4' he was the largest Olympic athlete in the history of the sport. It could be said that his height was a hindrance. He suffered a back injury which meant that his lifts were only enough to secure 14th place. He announced that the Olympic Games were his last official Olympic Weightlifting competitive outing.

In spite of that poor performance, his prior record-breaking achievements meant that he was a household name in the United States. WWE owner Vince McMahon offered Mark a 10-year contract as a professional wrestler. Such a long contract is unheard of in the industry. He signed the contract and became a popular wrestler.

His first in-ring appearance was in 1996 when the WWE was still called the WWF. He defeated Jerry Lawler in a wrestling match, and then took on HHH, Goldust, and Crush in a tug of war contest and defeated them all. He then made numerous other appearances, including a tag team Battle Royal at Wrestle Mania XIV.

The death of his mother in 2001 led to him taking some time off from wrestling. He chose to train for the Super Bowl of Weightlifting as a gesture in honor of his mother. He trained for four months, and won all of the events, cementing himself as the "World's Strongest Man". He returned to WWE, where he wrestled for many more years. However, injuries mounted up and after 2013 he started to make fewer and fewer appearances on TV. He is now in the WWE hall of fame and still works with the WWE as a backstage producer. He is involved in the mentoring of talent, helping with off-air parts of the role, including issues such as locker-room cleanliness.

Family and Health

Mark lives in Austin Texas. He has a wife, Jana and two children; a son called Jacob and a daughter called Joanna. He also has an older brother, Pat, who has broadly escaped media attention.

He keeps a pet two-foot ferret, which he calls Pipe. He still drives the Hummer that was a prize in the Arnold Strongman Classic of 2002.

He has pledged to donate his brain to CTE researchers upon his death. CTE is something that many professional wrestlers are concerned about because of the number of bumps that they take as a part of their performances. While younger wrestlers benefit from the improved safety and changes to popular 'spots' that WWE has introduced over the last few years, there is still a lot of risk to the profession. Research into CTE Would benefit not just professional wrestlers but also freestyle wrestlers, American football players, and many other athletes.

Acting Career

Since stepping back from professional sport, Mark Henry has appeared in several movies, including MacGruber, A Haunted House 2, The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown, and Incarnate. His likeness has appeared in numerous licensed WWE video games, including WWE 2K19.

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