Donald Reinhoudt

Home 5 Class of 2005 5 Donald Reinhoudt

Weight Lifter

The Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame has certainly admitted many inductees with “strong” credentials, but never any with stronger qualifications than those of Fredonia’s Donald Reinhoudt, widely recognized during the late 1970s as the “Strongest Man in the World.”

Donald’s powerlifting prowess was a delayed offshoot of success in other sports. At Fredonia High School in the early 1960s, Reinhoudt starred in football, basketball, and track, but it wasn’t until his arrival at Parsons College in Iowa that he became a serious dedicated weightlifter. By the early 1970s, Donald’s efforts began to lift him to national and international recognition.

Reinhoudt held both the national and world powerlifting championships from 1973 through 1976, and was officially recognized as the World’s Strongest Man from 1973 through 1980. During his reign, Reinhoudt set 51 world records, two of which remain to this day. A sampling of his records includes a 520-pound teeth lift, 2,550-pound car lift, a 20,000-pound Mack truck pull, a 10,000-pound train pull, an 800-pound wheelbarrow race, and the combination of bench press (626 pounds), squat (935 pounds) and dead lift (885 pounds) for a total weight of 2,420 pounds.

Reinhoudt’s accomplishments have been highlighted in numerous publications, including the Guinness Book of World Records, Powerlifting USA, Super Athletes, and Sports Almanac. In addition, he was runner-up for the prestigious Sullivan Award, given annually to the top amateur athlete in the United States.

During his career, Reinhoudt drew inspiration from a variety of sources. One was his father, to whom Donald was extremely close. Donald dedicated his world record 935-pound lift in the squat to his father, who passed away the week before the record was set. Another source of strength has been his wife Cindy, a world-class powerlifter in her own right, who provided much-needed encouragement and moral support during difficult times early in Donald’s career.

Since retirement from powerlifting, Reinhoudt has dedicated substantial time to numerous youth-oriented causes. Since 1984, Donald has served as Executive Director of Chautauqua County’s Youth Bureau, counseling teens on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. While teens are often reluctant to listen to adults, a counselor who rips a license plate in half will usually get their attention. He has received many honors for his community service from organizations including the New York State Moose Association, Special Olympics, Lions Club, and BOCES

A member of the World Powerlifting Hall of Fame, the USA National Hall of Fame for Powerlifting, and the Chautauqua County Sports Hall of Fame, Reinhoudt adds to his impressive resume with tonight’s induction to the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.