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Published on July 9th, 2016 | by Joey Finnegan

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MARK HENRY: From Olympic Weightlifting to the Squared Circle

An intimate look at Mark Henry’s twenty-plus years in professional wrestling

Author: Joey Finnegan  /  Editor: J Zarka

mark henry

[Photo courtesy of WWE.com]

Today we take a close, candid look at the life and pro wrestling career of the twenty-year veteran of the ring, Mark Henry. Welcome to the Hall of Pain!

Mark Jerrold Henry was born on June 12th, 1971 in Silsbee, Texas. As a child, Mark was a big fan of wrestling and considered Andre the Giant to be his favorite wrestler. In fact, as a youngster, Mark Henry attended a wrestling show in Beaumont, Texas in which Andre was on the card for. As Andre was making his way down the aisle, Mark tried to touch his favorite wrestler, but instead, he tripped and fell over the barricade. When this occurred, Andre simply picked him up and placed him back on the other side of the barrier. Just one giant manhandling a future one.

When he was twelve, Mark lost his father to diabetes. Two years later, he was diagnosed with dyslexia. Another few years after that, Mark’s football career, which he had been playing for years, was brought to an end. He was a senior in high school and managed to strain some ligaments in his wrist. That, plus scoring below 700 on his SAT, was the one-two punch that successfully took Mark off of the gridiron.

This leads us to Mark Henry’s powerlifting career. For starters, did you know that in the fourth grade at ten years old, Mark was 5’5 and weighed 225 pounds? His mother bought him his first set of weights around this time. Imagine this kind of specimen on the playground when you were a child! What a terrifying thought…

youngmarkhenry

A young and hungry Mark Henry

During his freshman year of high school, Mark could already squat 600 pounds, which was well above his school’s record. As an eighteen-year-old, Henry was dubbed “The World’s Strongest Teenager” by the Los Angeles Times. In 1990, he made various headlines for winning the National High School Powerlifting Championships and setting teenage lifting world records.

By the time he finished high school, the future Sexual Chocolate was a three-time Texas state champion with state and national records in all four powerlifting categories: the squat at 832 pounds, bench press at 525 pounds and deadlift at 815 pounds. This is an eighteen-year-old we’re talking about. When he was twenty-five, his deadlift went up to 903.9 pounds, and his squat went up to 948 pounds. More facts concerning Mark Henry’s powerlifting career can be found here.


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