Gary Taylor, WAL – Strongman
The World’s Strongest Man competition in 1993, held in Orange, France, was one of the best ever and culminated in a win for Gary Taylor, also know as the “Welsh Dragon.” A worthy winner, he further enhanced Britain’s reputation established by such Strongmen as Geoff Capes and Jamie Reeves.
Gary first staked his claim for the World’s Strongest Man title in Tenerife as he pull himself up from last place to finally finish third, looking stronger after three demanding days than he did in the opening events.
At that time, TV viewers saw Gary as a new star, but it had taken more than thirteen years of hard work fo him to become an “over-night success”, as he was then described. Over the years, however, he proved his versatility in no uncertain fashion. In Olympic lifting he took four Welsh titles and was a bit hit at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia when he broke several records, making him the Commonwealth’s best ever in that specific discipline. More was yet to come, for lifting in the 110kg category at the Los Angeles Olympics he placed second in the snatch.
“Heavy duty” training for the Olympics built him a tremendous physique, giving him a rock-hard appearance. A two-year excursion into bodybuilding filled his trophy cabinet to overflowing, winning the British intermediate title and being twice runner-up in the main British Championship – the only person beating him was Dorian Yates, acclaimed as the world’s number one.
Still accepting challenges, Gary Taylor took up powerlifting and has the following lifts to his credit: squat 355kg, bench press 220kg, dead lift 315kg, totalling 890kg. In training he has done more. His best squat is 385kg and dead lift 355kg. Powerlifting gave him more trophies and more muscle, so much in fact he was selected for the AAU Mr Universe in Tucson, Arizona. There he took fourth place, but in the prestigious East European Grand Prix, the Sandow Classic in Czechoslovakia he won hands down.
In modern strength athletics as seen on the TV competitions, he has won British and European championships and represented Britain with distinction in many overseas internationals.
Gary is a physical education instructor in the prison service and although he is as tough as they come, with his pleasant disposition and rugged involvement, he is very popular in strength circles, where he is usually very polite and humorous.
During 1994, Gary Taylor lifted 270kg (595lb) overhead, a new world record, but fate was unkind and he suffered a severe bicep injury which kept him out of some major contests. However, the fighting spirit which thrilled his many supporters was very much in evidence as he continued to win major contest and establish new records. I have been asked to referee Gary attempting a jerk from behind the neck with 272kg (600lb) for the Guinness Book of Records programme. This is still awaited as two severe injuries to arm and abdomen have taken their toll, and surgery has been necessary. At this time he is training heavy power cleaning up to 200kg and doing partial squats about 500kg for 15 reps! It looks likely that Gary will continue for quite some time giving pleasure to strength disciples the world over.