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Thread: Powerlifting Great Dave Pasanella Died Twenty Years Ago Today

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    Guerrilla Journalist Steve Colescott's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
    Akron, Ohio

    Powerlifting Great Dave Pasanella Died Twenty Years Ago Today

    By Steve Colescott

    More than any other sport, powerlifting is a progression. The champions of today build upon the records of the superstars of the past. While the records and total gradually increase each year, there are athletes that make huge leaps forward, dragging the sport forward as they do so. Dave Pasanella was one of those legendary lifters.
    Pasanella is ranked thirteenth in the 275-pound class of the all-time best totals (GoMetal Rankings 04-08-07) with 2458.2 pounds (on 5/28/89 at the APF/WPC meet in Rosemont, IL). He is also ranked eighteenth in the all-time best deadlifts in the 275-pound class for his 854.3 pull and fourteenth for his1030.7 pound squat in the 275-pound class at that same meet. He would have achieved much more, had he not died unexpectedly in a tragic 1990 car accident. A testament to his ability is that his lifts would have won him trophies in heavier weight classes and many of his records stood for over a decade after his passing.

    L.B. Baker posted the following on Fortified Iron (2/2/05):

    “In the summer of 1988 I was benching and Jim Schultz and Dave Pasanella were squatting. It was just after noon and only a few people were in Coffee's Gym. Dave warmed up adding 100's like some of us add 45's with only Jim back spotting him. He did 1035 with Jim back spotting and went to 1125. At that point he asked if I would take a side. I though we might need some one else so I asked Colleen Colley to take a side and Jim was in the back. He took the weight off the walk out rack and set up with the wide stance, did 3 reps and put the weight back by himself. We helped him steady it but he handled the weight. Dave was not a real deep squatter and these were border line to maybe 1" high. I spotted him one night with a loose denim shirt with 605. It was a pull over Frantz shirt. Shortly before his death I saw him hit 850 for 5 reps in the deadlift wearing gym shorts. He wore a loose Inzer squat suit in the squat. Most of his training was done without equipment. He was 28.

    He could have done amazing things if he wasn't killed in a car crash...”

    In addition to the numerous powerlifters that he inspired, Dave Pasanella worked for Georgia Tech as the Director of Player Development (after being a football letterman there in ’83 and ’84). The recently remodeled Hugh Spruill Strength Center has a tribute to him. At the twentieth anniversary of his death, we celebrate the life and accomplishments of Dave Pasanella and are reminded that we need to cherish every moment so that we may find our way to live on, in our own way, through teaching, supporting and inspiring others.


    1988 APF World Championships (Passanella is 2:30 into the clip)

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    Last edited by Steve Colescott; 06-19-2010 at 08:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Guerrilla Journalist Steve Colescott's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Akron, Ohio
    It was hard to find much info on Pasanella, due to the fact that he lifted before the internet era (and the fact that my older powerlifting mags are buried in storage). If anyone here has any info or personal recollections of Dave, I'd love to read them. He seems like a hardcore training beast and had a really impressive build compared to most lifters of his era.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2009
    au contraire Steve, i find that nearly all the lifters of that era had impressive builds unlike today.

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