Michael Pearman — Strongman Hairstylist (1959)

British Weightlifter Michael Pearman appears in this 1959 profile vignette, from the archives of the British Pathé Youtube channel. This somewhat whimsical profile shows how, at the time, Pearman was developing skills in two separate and unrelated fields: as an Olympic weightlifter, and as a ladies’ hairdresser. Yes, strength is for everybody!

After this, Pearman participated in a number of international weightlifting competitions, and he represented Great Britain as part of the weightlifting team at the Olympic Games in 1964, 1968, and 1972. He would go on to become a weightlifting coach, including as chief coach to the British weightlifters at the 2001 world championships in Antalya, Turkey, and as head coach to the English squads at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. He currently coaches the weightlifting club at Brunel University London.

It is unknown whether Pearman has kept up his skills as a ladies’ hairstylist over the years.

This video also highlights changing attitudes toward weight training for athletes.Two competitive athletes in sports outside of the iron game are depicted training with weights; a shot putter and a middle-distance runner. In prior years, it was thought that exercising with weights would take away an athlete’s flexibility, speed and agility. Thankfully, athletic coaches came to recognize the benefits of weight training.

Further reading/references:

Michael Pearman’s rankings at various weightlifting events: http://www.chidlovski.net/liftup/l_athleteStatsResult.asp?a_id=1603

Some of Pearman’s reminiscences from the year 2001: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2001/oct/29/theguardian3

Announcement of the Glasgow 2014 coaching team: https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1016827/coaching-team-for-glasgow-2014-announced-by-british-weight-lifting

About Brunel Weightlifting Club: https://brunelstudents.com/sportsclubs/weightlifting/

2 thoughts on “Michael Pearman — Strongman Hairstylist (1959)

  1. Sheridan November 2, 2018 / 8:56 am

    Thanks for writing on these topics! I found it challenging to find content on the history of weightlifting, so your blog is one of my favorites.

    Liked by 1 person

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