For Bill Clark, the gym has always felt like home. Years after becoming a world champion power lifter, he’s lending that knowledge to the next generation.
“I really thought, you know what, I think I have a responsibility the way I grew up and having mentors that changed my life," said Clark.
Captaining an Olympic weight lifting squad or setting world records didn’t happen overnight. Clark, who grew up in Broome County, fell in love with the weight room at a young age.
“My dad took me to professional wrestling at the arena and I saw a guy whose real name is Wayne Coleman, but his wrestling name was Superstar Billy Graham. Little kid, went up to him and asked him if he’d sign something for me. He was supposed to be a bad guy. Not only did he sign something, but then he made a muscle for me. He gave me a bicep shot. So from that moment on, I was pretty well hooked,” said Clark.
Of course, many in the Southern Tier know Clark as the world record holder for most license plates ripped in half in under one minute.
“What I do, is I take the license plate and I actually angle my hand. I turn my hand this way and this one goes this way, and I just give it a pop, but I’ve got to have my hands at the right angle,” said Clark.
Rising through the ranks in powerlifting, Clark says he owes all of his success to former World’s Strongest Man Don Reinhoudt. The two were able to reunite at the Greater Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“The moment I met Bill years ago, we just completely got bonded very quickly and the thing that I look into a person isn’t so much what they achieved or what they did with their life but the kind of a person that they are and I always knew Bill was a fine, fine person and somebody that I liked to be around,” said Reinhoudt.
Out of all the halls of fame he's in, Clark says being inducted locally was one of his greatest honors.
“No matter how good you are at any athletic event, that will fade. What you’re left with is the lessons you’ve learned along the way and the development of the person. And for me, it’s about being the best person you can be and about treating other people well,” said Clark.
The Greater Binghamton Sports Hall of Fame launched back in 2015 and features the likes of former NFL players Chris Snee and Arthur Jones, along with the 2016 Little League World Champion Maine-Endwell baseball team.