Ron Walker - 22/12/07 to 25/10/48

Ron Walker from Wakefield was one of only four Yorkshire lifters to represent Great Britain at the Olympics, and his achievements rightly rank him as possibly Yorkshire's best ever lifter, and certainly amongst its best ever sportsmen.

At the time of his death in 1948 he held no less than 21 British Heavyweight records. This included One Hand Snatches of over 200lbs, and most importantly today, a Two Hands Snatch of 297½lbs.

This Snatch of 135kg in December 1936 was the first ever World Record on one of the Olympic Set performed by a British lifter.

Ron was often out of work and certainly did not have the training advantages of many of today's lifters. He smoked heavily, but displays the impressive physique of the early Olympic lifter - big shoulders and arms but no pecs! In addition, Ron had near legendary thickness in his back muscle development, from work shovelling coal onto delivery carts.

Three points about Ron make his achievements even more remarkable:-

Ron first lifted as a novice in 1929. In 1930 he was British Twelve Stone Champion, and in 1931 started his run of British Heavyweight titles.

At the Berlin Olympics in 1936 he placed 4th in the Heavyweight Class. He was easily the lightest of the (main) competitors, and was much better at the fast lifts than the Press. Without the Press, he would have won! Articles in the lifting press at the time accused the referees of being partisan, as a German and an Austrian turned down good looking lifts which would have given Ron gold ahead of the German World Champion.

Ron still held the YNE Snatch record when the new weight classes were introduced in 1993. He still holds several British All-Round Records, as well as YNE Records. Curiously, the British Records are recorded in the 100kg Class, and the YNE Records in the 110kg Class! British Records Ron still holds

The above photograph of Ron was published in Health and Strength magazine of January 1949.

Results of the 1936 Olympics:-

Name

Nation

Bodyweight

Press

Snatch

Clean & Jerk

Total
 Josef Manger

GER

105.0

132½

122½

155

410
 Vaclav Psenicka

CSR

104.2

122½

125

155

402½
 Arnold Luhaar

EST

120.0

115

120

165

400
 Ron Walker

GBR

88.5

110

127½

160

397½
 Nine others including John Grimek!

(Ron's Olympic Snatch Record was broken by the great American Norbert Schemansky in 1948).

He set his final British (professional) Record in 1947, and finally succumbed to cancer shortly after the 1948 Olympics in London, at the age of forty. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Harehills Cemetery, Leeds.

This is the Front Cover of Ron's postal training course, and is courtesy of www.strengthstars.com

See also the Weightlifting Exchange site:- Weightlifting Exchange

This one is from the training camp at Berlin in 1936