Henry Steinborn - known professionally the world over as "Milo" Steinborn - closed the chapter of his illustrious life on February 9th, 1989, at the grand age of 95. He was the "Dean of American Strongmen" and probably the last of the living legends from the golden age of strongmen.
In the late '80s, "Milo" was still able to squat with 300 pounds. He would defy anyone to hold him down while performing sit-ups. As a matter of fact, at the Oldetimers Reunion in New York City, on May 13, 1987, he requested to perform - having someone jump on his "abs" from the position of three tables high. To his disappointment, due to the sequences of the evening's program we denied his request. At about 170 pounds, Milo's "abs" were still rock hard. In his prime years, he performed this stunt nightly at his wrestling performances.
Proudly, I remember that unforgettable Saturday evening of May 23, 1987, our Association of the Oldetime Barbell & Strongmen honored and presented Henry "Milo" Steinborn with a beautiful plaque and our appreciation and respect for his tremendous lifelong contributions to the Iron Game. On the same evening, we also conferred our highest achievement honors to Bert Goodrich and Johnny Mandel - two legends from Iron Game history.
In his prime years, Milo was a great athlete - an all around lifter and a professional wrestler. He was a tower of muscle and strength at 5 feet 9 inches, weighing in at 210-220 pounds.
Prior to his arrival in America in 1921, the most popular lifts performed here rotated around "power-type" lifts such as bent presses, two arm presses, deadlifts, curls, etc. Milo brought the speed and quick lifts of the Europeans to these shores.
The lifting enthusiasts of the early 1920's witnessed undreamed of poundages hoisted to arms length by this powerful young German Strongman. Milo astounded the weight-lifting world with his prodigious strength, skill and dexterity. He was then lifting 375 pounds in the two arm clean and jerk; 220 in the one arm snatch; 240 pounds in the one arm clean & jerk; and two arm snatching 265 pounds. Milo popularized the squat. He was incredible, performing five full squats with 550 pounds in rapid succession. Imagine, he performed this lift unassisted without any supports or wraps. Milo just lifted the huge barbell on one end and leaned under, hoisting it across his shoulders. He was capable of this fantastic lifting ability most of his athletic life.
Aside from his great lifting abilities, he was an accomplished feats of strength performer. Because of his tremendous leg power, Milo would lie on his back with his upraised legs acting as human pillars, supporting one end of a bridge, while an auto filled with passengers (weighing about 5000 lbs.)
passed over. Unfortunately, on March 7th, 1926 in Los Angeles while performing his Leg Bridge, something went wrong in his control of the support and he suffered severe leg injuries; thus ending this famed Leg Bridge act.
Recovering from this injury months later, Milo resumed his professional wrestling career. Wrestling until about 1953, in more than 300 matches with the world's best, including Charles Rigulot, the famous French lifter and strongman.
Many years ago, at the 1950 Chicago World's Fair, Milo, then 57 years old, executed an impromptu back lift with an 800 pound elephant, while nattily attired in his dress suit. Other strongmen present were unable to perform this clumsy, unbalanced feat.
In 1960, he opened his own gym in Orlando and operated it for 11 years. Milo promoted wrestling for another 11 years at the old Orlando stadium where his weekly shows drew thousands of people. He retired in 1978.
Adding to the highlights of his amazing career, Milo also managed the legendary Primo Carnera, a former world's Heavyweight Boxing Champion with his wrestling career. Carnera went on to become a Wrestling champion. He was the only man in history to become a double title holder.
The collecting of the Iron Game Memorabilia was one of Milo's great hobbies.
Over the years, our association grew into a priceless friendship because of our mutual interest. Aside from his athletic and strongman abilities, Milo was well versed with philosophy and history - he was also wise and well-traveled. He loved animals, especially his two pets, a beautiful Parrot named Cowboy and Tommy, his dog. Their affection for Milo was unbelievable.
His son, Henry, carries on the Milo tradition in Orlando. He's a fine man and a good friend. He maintains Milo's personal gym and Milo's famed library. Both he and his brother Dick were also fine wrestlers.
I could on and on talking about this special man. Those of us who knew Henry "MILO" Steinborn over the years certainly miss his dynamic presence, not only by the virtue of his outstanding physical status, but for the many good and kind deeds he projected toward his fellow man. His shining star will be forever in the History of the Iron Game.
IRON GAME/PHYSICAL CULTURE HISTORY