A 1957 Jeffersonville High School graduate has nabbed top honors in state and national bench press competitions in his first try. His next stop? The world championships.
Len Bryson, 79, participated in his first Bench Press competition in Huntsville, Ala., in mid-February. He won first place honors in the Alabama Southern Powerlifting Federations 75-79 age group and 148-pound weight class. He qualified for the SPF National Championships, held in Gatlinburg, Tenn., on June 15, again walking away with top honors for the same age division and weight class.
Bryson now qualifies to compete in the Southern Powerlifting Federations World Championships to be held in Atlanta in late September. The SPF combines its efforts in the World Championships with the World Association of Benchers and Deadlifters (WABDL) for greater participation and potentially increased lifting results. Because of his upcoming birthday, Bryson will compete in the 80-84 year old age division in the World Championships.
Bryson said he has been a “recreational lifter” for fitness most of his adult life and only thought about competing in recent years. His first competitive training program five years ago resulted in an injury that required “healing time.”He began his recent training eight months ago setting goals for each competition. He is most excited about the fact that he acquired each of his lifting goals and looks forward to achieving his new goal for the World Championships in September. Entries from more than 12 countries have already been received for the SPF World Championships.
Bryson competed as a gymnast at Indiana University during undergrad school, and after receiving his master’s degree, created and coached the men’s gymnastic team at Memphis State University, winning four Missouri Valley Conference titles and the 1969 Southern Intercollegiate title.
After 20 years at Memphis State he served six years in administration at the University of Wisconsin — Madison, two years as department chairman and associate dean at the U. S. Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala., during the 1990-92 academic years. He concluded his career as Recreation Director for the City of Foley, where he currently resides, before retiring in 2007.