John Grimek

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John Grimek
John Grimek - Strength and Health Sep 1945.jpg
John Grimek featured on the cover of Strength and Health magazine, 1945
Personal info
Nickname"The Monarch of Muscledom"
"The Glow"
Born(1910-06-17)June 17, 1910
Perth Amboy, New Jersey
DiedNovember 20, 1998(1998-11-20) (aged 88)[1]
York, Pennsylvania
Height5 ft 8.5 in (1.74 m)
Weight195 lb (88 kg)
Professional career
SuccessorSteve Reeves

John Carroll Grimek (June 17, 1910[2] – November 20, 1998) was an American bodybuilder and weightlifter active in the 1930s and 1940s. He was Mr. America in 1940 and 1941, and Mr. Universe in 1948. Throughout his career he carried the nicknames "The Monarch of Muscledom" and "The Glow."[3][4]


Grimek was born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey,[5] the son of Slovak immigrants George and Maria Grimek, peasants from the village Ústie nad Oravou in northern Slovakia.[6]

Grimek moved to York, Pennsylvania in 1935 to join Bob Hoffman, the founder of York Barbell.[5][7] Besides his bodybuilding exploits, Grimek also represented the United States in weightlifting at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, where he took 9th place in the men's heavyweight category.[8]

Grimek was Mr. America in 1940 and 1941, and Mr. Universe in 1948.[5][7] In 1949, he won his last contest, the AAU Mr. USA,[7] against a field that included Steve Reeves, Clarence Ross, George Eiferman, and Armand Tanny. Grimek retired from bodybuilding undefeated.[9]

Grimek featured in many bodybuilding articles and magazines. He was also the editor of Muscular Development.[5] Despite his retirement, he continued serious training for many years, and was still able to perform squats with over 400 pounds for repetitions in his late 60s.[10] Grimek died on November 20, 1998, in York, Pennsylvania, at the age of 88.[5][7]

Posthumous tributes[edit]

Grimek was inducted into the IFBB Hall of Fame in 1999.[11]

He is depicted as part of a mural located at 37 West Philadelphia Street in York, Pennsylvania, which was finished in 2000.[12]


  1. ^ Weider, Joe (December 1998). "John Grimek: 1910–1998" (PDF). Iron Game History. 5 (3). Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  2. ^ According to the Social Security Death Index, he was born on June 18, 1911.
  3. ^ Whelan, Bob. "John Grimek Was The Man". Natural Strength. Archived from the original on August 8, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  4. ^ Rosa, Ken (April 1999). "My Thoughts and Reflections on John C. Grimek" (PDF). Iron Game History. 5 (4): 33. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e "John C. Grimek. Bodybuilder who was Mr. America twice". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 29, 1998. p. E5. Retrieved July 2, 2020 – via
  6. ^ "Prečo John Grimek nenavštívil Slovensko". (in Slovak). Archived from the original on June 8, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "John C. Grimek". Tampa Bay Times. November 29, 1998. p. 11. Retrieved July 2, 2020 – via
  8. ^ "Berlin 1936 Weightlifting 82.5kg Heavyweight Men Results". International Olympic Committee. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  9. ^ "John Grimek". Legendary Fitness. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  10. ^ "John Grimek: The Monarch Of Muscledom". Gym Talk. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
  11. ^ "IFBB Hall of Fame Inductees for 1999". IFBB. Interactive Federation of Bodybuilding & Fitness. Archived from the original on February 4, 2012. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  12. ^ McClure, James, ed. (2002). "Murals of York". York Daily Record. York, Pennsylvania.

External links[edit]