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Vale: Sonnt Schmidt

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2005 6:05 am
by Gordon Hayes




With some considerable sadness I learnt today of the death of Mr Sonny Schmidt.[/font]


As it happens Sonny died aver a year ago, and because I move today in different circles I only now learnt of this.[/font]


Back in 1990 I lived in Melbourne and ran a business in Balwyn, back then I trained at Melbourne body building Mecca Finlays gym.[/font]

I was never a body builder, I raced push bikes, but because I ran a bike shop near by I fixed the exercise equipment at Finlays, and weight trained there as well.[/font]


Sonny trained at Finlays gym. Sonny was the biggest and physically the strongest human being I have ever seen. Sonny had physical development on the next level after awesome. He was a giant of a man. [/font]

My lasting memory of Sonny is this, I recall Sonny doing a leg work out...[/font]


It was late summer, Finlays had no air-conditioning so the gym was hot, Sonny always trained in a long sleeved sweat shirt and long floppy pants.[/font]

No one thought much of it when Sonny started his routine at the squat rack (free weight). After a few minutes I noticed that a few of the guys around me were casting an eye to the black matted swat rack area, a few minutes later everyone around me had stopped training and they were now all watching the rack in silence.[/font]

Inside the squat rack Sonny was repping out at about 8-10 reps, then with no particular effort he was sliding the weighted bar back of his colossal shoulders and onto the rack.[/font]

" Sonny's at 550" (pounds) I heard one spectator say.[/font]

I started counting the plates as his assistants pilled on more weight.[/font]

At this time the gym had only about 10 people in side, and we alone were to witness the following events.[/font]

A few years earlier I had squatted 300 pound. Hell that darn near crushed the fluid out my spine.[/font]

I asked the body builder next to me, himself a huge man... What did Arnold squat?[/font]

"Arnold squatted about 600" came the reply.[/font]

Sonny stood under the bar and lifted with our apparent effort, and again he started his [/font]

Piston like action, full squatting bum to the ground and back up again.[/font]

A voice behind me whispered ... that's 650.[/font]

Sonny completed his reps with out a rest.[/font]

The guys behind murmured amounst themselves as the bar was again loaded with more weight.. 750 came the conclusion.. By now no-one in the gym was moving, even the big competitive body builders trophy winners them selves, they were all watching in absolute awe at this display.[/font]

Sonny knew nothing about what was going on around him, he was focused .. Like in a trance. I knew what 300 felt like, So I knew without doubt that I was now witnessing something very very special. Back under the bar and this man mountain again heaved the massive weight into the air, and again he completed his reps with out a break, but you could tell now that even his mighty strength was being tested.[/font]

What happened next took the breath away from everyone in the room, Sonny walked slowly around in small circles, sat on a stool and spent some time adjusting the heavy strapping literally holding his knees together against the huge weight the bar was now at a staggering 850 pounds and the bar was bending in the rack. Behind me I heard the seasoned body builders whispering that they had heard of the Californian legend Tom Platz squatting 800.. Yet here in this Melbourne Gym the great man Sonny Schmidt was crouched under the bar with that epic massive colossal weight of 850 pounds immediately above his carved as in stone shoulders. [/font]

In fact this was no longer just a gym, this was a location, on this day we were witnessing a human phenomenon, pure genius, heroic strength, as this physically huge human tested all of his syssomic strength.[/font]

The gym was now silent like a church, the squat rack a shrine, each gym member stood in great sporting anticipation as if this was the instant before the Olympic 100 meter final.[/font]

Everything had now changed; the squat rack alone was bathed in a weird afternoon light as the steel fleshed God Sonny Schmidt entered into the final preparations for this lift.[/font]

Almost before we were ready, a couple of quick breaths and this man of steel heaved the enormous mass skyward. Hell ... Sonny himself must have moved 6 inches up before the thick massive bar took all the weight and finally moved clear of the frame.[/font]

Sonny completed about some reps (can't remember 4-6) all in perfect style, no sign of any bad technique , perfect text book posture as the weight rose and fell, the bar bending beneath the load. Sonnys huge chest and lungs betraying the effort involved.[/font]

Finally the great man stopped at the bottom of about the 6th squat. Now came the defining moment, a few gasps of air as Sonny summoned all of his literal Herculean strength to again push the 850 pound dead mass upward, again in perfect style[/font]

This was the ultimate limit, every muscle, vein and sinew pumping and straining.[/font]

Two more reps and it was over... we had been privileged, we had seen history.[/font]

I saw Sonny many more times as that summer wound down.[/font]

But I never again saw him squatting.[/font]

5 years later his career would peak as he won the Mr Olympia Masters.[/font]


For the remainder of my life I shall recall the day I saw Sonny Schmidt full squatting 850 pounds in perfect style.[/font]


Weather or not what it takes to build a human body to such massive size and strength finally took his life I will never know (Sonny died of cancer). Perhaps a human body cannot yet support such a heightened level of evolution.[/font]


But whatever... Rest in Peace Sonny ... it was an honour and a privilege.[/font]