Jonathan Andrew Pritikin
February 26, 1973
Rockford, Illinois, United States
|Known for||2x Guinness World Record holder|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.9m)|
|Spouse(s)||Rhonda (m. 1995)|
Jon Pritikin (born February 26, 1973) is an American strongman and motivational speaker. He is best known for breaking two Guinness World Records as a strength athlete and as a global speaker, teaching from his own life experiences being bullied.
Early life and education
Pritikin was born in Rockford, Illinois to Andrew and Nancy (née Kunz) Pritikin. His father is a retired salesman originally from Freeport, Illinois and attended Parsons College in Iowa. His mother is originally from Nyack, New York but grew up in Rockford, Illinois. She earned her bachelor's degree in journalism from University of Illinois in 1971, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society. She held executive marketing roles at both HSBC and Central Bank. Nancy converted to Judaism in 1972 after marrying Andrew. The couple divorced in September 1980 and both remarried.
Pritikin had speech and learning disabilities as a child. Placed in special education in first grade, he was bullied and abused by schoolmates and neighborhood children, and has said he had no friends.
Pritikin is related to Deborah Raznick, scriptwriter for Mork & Mindy, Laverne & Shirley and Rugrats, and LuAnn Sanders, a former entertainment anchor on CNN. Political commentator, Robert Novak was also a relative of Pritikin.
In 1994, Pritikin co-founded the nonprofit organization Feel The Power, which produces an anti-bullying assembly for elementary, middle, and high school students. The assembly consists of motivational speaking and a presentation of Pritikin's physical strength through various strongman exercises. Pritikin has shared his anti-bullying message in the United States and around the world. In 2001 through Feel The Power, Pritikin brought his school assembly program to Israel to promote emotional and mental health awareness. Since then he has spoken in over 700 different Jewish and Arab schools throughout the region. In January 2011, he was a part of an outdoor event outside of Vijayawada, India, where Jon spoke in front of a live audience of 1.1 million people. Over 400 volunteers worked for weeks to put the event together in an 88-acre field. Jon has spoken extensively throughout Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia, the Americas, the South Pacific, and Australia. He has presented his assembly to several remote nations around the world, including Buhtan, Fiji, Sri Lanka, and East Timor. He is one of a few foreign speakers in the world allowed to present at schools in Japan.
From 1994 until 2006, Pritikin was a motivational speaker to various Major League Baseball teams for both American and National League teams. He has also spoken to various National Football League teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, and Minnesota Vikings. In 2008, Pritikin became involved in an anti-steroid program known as S.W.A.T.S., which is an acronym for Sports With Alternatives to Steroids.
In 2019, Pritikin was mentioned in Jill Liberman and Sean Kanan's book Success Factor X as one of the 50 most successful people in America. Others highlighted in the book included Tony Robbins, Mark Cuban, Jason Alexander, and Sara Blakely.
As of 2021, Pritikin has spoken to more than 10 million students in 60 nations. In October 2021, Pritikin released his first book titled Feel The Power: A Survivor's Guide to Happiness.
Many of Pritikin's speaking engagements focus on him sharing his life story about his struggles as a child. He had been labeled at a young age as mentally handicapped, and removed from regular classroom settings. He was later diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, and various speech disorders. He was taunted by classmates and suffered abuse from other children. His message today focuses on the long term effects of bullying and the importance of accepting others. His topics address self-esteem, self-worth, perseverance, mental health and hope.
World Records Held
Pritikin broke and set two Guinness World Records for "the tightest circumference of two aluminum frying pans rolled together with his bare hands in less than 30 seconds.” The frying pans were 30 cm (12 in) and he broke the record at Rectory Road Park in Sittingbourne, Kent, UK on July 11, 2007. Pritikin's photo is in the 2009 Guinness Book of World Records and he's mentioned in the 2010 edition.
Pritikin met his wife Rhonda (née Garcia) when they were both students at Bethany University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in education and attained her teaching credential. The couple married on May 13, 1995. They were recognized as Bethany University's Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2007.
Pritikin resides in Lodi, California with his wife and their daughter Jaden, who was born in 2003. Jaden earned Gold status with American Airlines by the time she was 3 months old, Platinum status at 6 months old, and at 2 years old earned Executive Platinum status. As of 2021, she has flown 2.5 million miles and has visited 6 continents and 48 countries before her 18th birthday. She has been featured in American Way Magazine three times for the extensive travel she has done with her family since a young age. In 2020, Jaden received a Volunteer Service Award from President Donald Trump for her work in anti-bullying from the Points of Light Foundation, an organization recognizing national & community service.
- Socha, Evamarie (December 3, 2010). "Open eyes and minds". The Daily Item. Sunbury, Pennsylvania. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Moore, Mike (April 19, 2010). "Strength from within: Speaker shows off physical prowess, urges another kind". The Journal Times. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- "Strength comes in many packages, students told". The Carmi Times. February 15, 2011. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Niederberger, Mary (October 9, 2008). "Strongman urges end to bullying in schools". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Urban, Kelly (September 2, 2009). "Bodybuilder urges kids to build character". The Tribune Democrat. Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Photos: Jon Pritikin shares feats of strength & message of friendship at York DAily Record; published March 10, 2016; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Turnbull, Jessica (November 19, 2009). "Guinness record-holder tells students to be strong against bullies". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Archived from the original on November 27, 2009. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- How to take bullying by the horns, tells survivor at The Indian Express; publishedJune 19, 2013; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Ryan School launches life changing celebrity campaign Read more at: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/20635500.cms?from=mdr at The Times of India; by Yogita Rao; published June 17, 2013; retrieved August 22, 2021
- JON PRITIKIN, AN INTERNATIONAL MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER INSPIRES ITE COLLEGE WEST STUDENTS; published 2017; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Guinness World Records holder inspires students at BBS; by Sangay Chezom; published April 14, 2017; retrieved August 22, 2021
- "Testimonials". Antisteroidprogram.com. Archived from the original on December 30, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Strongman speaks out against bullying at Eastern at York Daily Record; published March 10, 2016; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Strongman Jon Pritikin challenges, motivates students with feats of strength at Penn Live; by Dan Gleter; published January 5, 2019; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Local middle-schoolers find strength through Inspire at Gazette Times; by Brad Fuqua; published April 27, 2015; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Inspiring kindness, learning and prayer at Shulamith High School at LI Herald; by Jeff Bessen; publishedOctober 31, 2019; retrieved August 22, 2021
- World record holder shares strength with Merced kids at Merced Sun Star; published June 29, 2016; retrieved August 22, 2021
- Brian DeNeal (February 4, 2011). "Jon Pritikin to bring anti-bullying message to area schools". The Daily Register. Harrisburg, Illinois. Retrieved February 5, 2012.
- Award Honorees at Bethany.edu; published 2007; retrieved August 18, 2021
- Worrell, Jennifer (April 15, 2006). "Frequent Family". American Way Magazine: 16.
- Worrell, Jennifer (April 2011). "FiveYears as an Executive Platinum at 7 Years Old". American Way Magazine.
- Pitluk, Adam (October 2014). "Advantage Member Spotlight". American Way Magazine: 91.
- Disruption and Innovation in the Civic Century at Points of Light YouTube; published June 9, 2020; retrieved August 18, 2021
- A story of hope during COVID-19 at Cincinnati USA Hispanic Chamber; published November 5, 2020; retrieved August 18, 2021