by Tony Brayton
(Bowie, Maryland)

When I was a young man, in the 1950s I worked out at the Central YMCA in Washington DC. It was a hard core, no frills type of gym.

We had some celebrities train with us from time to time, among them were: Jack LaLanne, Bruno Sanmartino, Huge Cassidy; Paul Anderson even dropped in sometimes. And probably some others I can't recall. Jim Bradford, the two time Olympic Silver Medal winner trained at the Seventh Street Y.

Jack LaLanne was a true unassuming gentleman, put on no airs. Some of the things he could do where almost unbelievable, but I saw them with my own eyes.

Bruno was not the Champion in those days that he later became (11 years). He was super strong, and could have been a world class weightlifter, but decided that wrestling provided him a better living. It took 3 of us to spot his benches.

Hugh Cassidy wasn't a power-lifter as yet, he was a 175 pound saxophone player. He later became the first heavyweight power-lifting champion. His daughter was Eva Cassidy, was a Big Time Blues singer.

It was great fun knowing and training with these guys and I'm proud to have been associated with them.

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