Some athletes at the professional level, many more now than there used to be, are very imposing without even opening their mouths. Some are even scarier after hearing them speak.
One would expect football linemen, especially the offensive type, (or the type on offense to be clearer) to be physically intimidating. But I am not speaking to the size or appearance of football players, as such.
I am long past remembering his name, and since it is generally irrelevant to the subject of this writing, not inclined to spend hours of search-engine time trying to word the inquiry just right. But the guy was a weight-lifter, and I believe he hailed from Poland, perhaps Bulgaria..
I just know that he was one of the most daunting spectacles I have ever seen in the many years I have watched the summer olympics. If he failed to lift the enormous amount of weight that made the bar flex to the point of breaking, you would not want to be the only guy in the locker room afterward, especially if you were in the Flyweight division.
But he was probably a sweetheart of a guy. Not that one could ever get the chance to hear him speak. Until the communists loosened their grip, and control, of eastern European athletes, the olympians weren’t exactly shuffled up to the microphones so that the American broadcasters could delve into life behind the iron curtain.
I would like to think life got better for the Polish lifter in later years, and he was able to pursue his true passion of writing poetry and running a flower shop — that’s what I’d like to think.
But, without a doubt, easily the scariest olympians I can recall were not the weight lifters... nor the heavyweight wrestlers. It had to be the women’s East German swim team. They apparently figured out the steroid cocktails before anyone else and were absolutely the most bulked-up mermaids anyone has ever seen — before or since. The girls were just enormous, and overcame the hydrodynamics with sheer muscle power.