Strength & Health, Page 12, August 1949

Jack Delinger - "Mr. America" - Achieves Ambition

by John Grimek

ONCE again another conscientious, hard working fellow achieved his goal; the winning of an official Mr. America title.

The evening of May 21st at the Masonic Auditorium in Cleveland was warm when most of the contenders for the Mr. America title vied for sub-divisions. It was obvious that more contestants took part in this contest than in recent years. A count indicated that 40 contestants were entered. Many of them were impressive from the point of muscularity and symmetry; therefore Delinger's victory proved to be a big feather in his cap.

Jack Delinger, our new 1949 Mr. America, had his heart set on winning the title in Los Angeles last year after successfully winning the "Mr. Western America" contest and nosing out some notable physique champions. Although Eiferman beat Jack by a small margin in the 1948 contest, the fault could be placed on Jack himself for accepting some false advise urging him to approach the pedestal more effectively. This, he lamented later, proved his downfall and cheated him out of the victory he felt so sure of getting. His exaggerated stride invoked a few hoot calls and whistles and he could feel the title, he worked so hard to gain, was slipping from him.

This defeat didn't discourage Jack, however, but made him more determined than ever to train harder and longer to win the following year. A brief rest from all barbell work would prove helpful, he thought. So, accordingly, he devoted the next sever months of his leisure time to hand balancing, sunbathing and other forms of recreation.

About a year ago Ed Yarick was formulating plans to sponsor a huge physical culture show in Oakland and subsequently invited me as special guest to this affair. He also asked Delinger to be one of the feature attractions feeling quite certain that Jack would win a Mr. America title soon. Jack consented and immediately he and Ed began training in earnest, Ed training along to help and encourage Jack. In order to train without any interference, Jack and Ed rose early and started their workouts around 7:00 A. M., consequently would be finished by the time the gym was opened to his regular pupils.

During this time I corresponded regularly with Jack and Ed and they wrote much about their early morning training. It was difficult to believe that anyone could survive such workouts, let alone make gains. Everyone who saw their program expressed skepticism and I admit I seemed a bit dubious. I had the pleasure later of watching them go through their routine and I can truthfully vouch for their integrity.

Came the evening of the "Big Show" last October and Jack opened the program with his posing. Everyone at the show remarked "how improved" he looked. This was the first time I saw him under favorable lights and I felt quite certain that here was our next Mr. America.

During my brief sojourn in Oakland Ed and I discussed Jack's possibility in the coming Mr. America. I had to admit that in my opinion I knew of no one to top him. Jack and Ed were pleased by my remarks and, I know, they started their early morning training with even greater enthusiasm.

When Jack first appeared in the Mr. America sub-divisions in Cleveland the audience gave him a vociferous reception. He looked wonderful even though no special lighting was arranged for this occasion; the judges wanted to study each man "as he was" without the flattering effects of prearranged lights. However any man with a good physique doesn't need lights to offset his development. Even under the adverse conditions Jack's development was hard to conceal. His chest, back, arms, shoulders, thighs and calves were all massively developed in symmetrical proportions. His muscularity was evident as he assumed each pose in a nonchalant but effective manner. It was fairly apparent whom the audience favored and this was the man they wanted to see win...they got their wish.

The following night we arranged a more suitable posing light to give the setting a more "professional" look. Although Jack looked wonderful the previous night, he certainly looked "in his glory" this night, the finals of the the Mr America contest.

One could almost detect a trace of grim determination as you saw him change from one pose to another. You could almost read his thoughts as he struck each attitude. There was only one thing in his mind this night-TO WIN! Once before he let the title escape him through some misguided adviuce, but now nothing must interfere with his chances...Nothing did.

Before leaving Oakland Ed and I did everything to encourage Jack to continue his training. He was with us constantly, before and after the Big Show. I found him to be very quite and pleasant company. We had a lot of laughs, but I became quite irritated when it took us over three hours to go from Oakland to San Francisco via the Bay I fumed! How they laughed at my impatience. 'Frisco and its Saturday night parades!

I don't suppose the incident of losing the 1948 title ever left Jack's mind because during the days when he felt sluggish and trainig was a bore he would simply allow his mind to wander to the coming Mr America contest and suddenly would be charged with renewed ambition. Added pep would envelop him. He would train like a Trojan, finishing his training with abundant energy.

Though he is quiet he is very attentive and absorbs everything. During my stay in Oakland I suggested that he come to York several weeks before the Mr. America contest to become thoroughly acclimated, since this would be his first trip East. He took this advice and arrived in York on an unscheduled plane flight. The following morning, after a good night's rest, he walked into my office...a very pleasant surprise...I was happy to see him. I introduced him to some of the fellows he didn't meet. He looked over the layout of the gym and made plans to begin training the following day. A week later Pepper Gomez from Tanny's Gym also came to York to complete his training and prepare for this contest, so Jack had a fine training partner. They rommed at the same house, ate meals at the same places and trained together. They had only one thing in mind; to make as much added improvement as possible-if this was possible.

These fellows really trained hard. Where they got all that endless endurance was difficult to understand. Most of us got tired just watching these fellows train, but they had a task to accomplish and they weren't missing any opportunities. They realized in another week or so they would meet some of the best men of the nation in a physique competition. They continued to train like demons. Jack's sweat clothes were wringing wet after every workout so that perspiration dripped from his sweat suit. He didn't wear sweat clothes to lose weight, but as an added protective measures against drafts and chills. We saw how Pepper forced himself to follow Jack through his training even though at times he altered poundages and repetitions in some of the exercises. Pepper is a fins fellow and possesses a fine symmetrical physique.

In spite of this huge expenditure of energy neither of them was ever tired, suffered any setbacks or muscular aches. One could almost see their muscles grow; taking on fuller and better contour. Often after a workout they would strip and practice a few poses just to be sure they knew which to feature. In such poses their herculean muscles would stand out sharply and their muscular appearance would be arresting. Everyone agreed, especially after seeing Jack, that here was the next Mr. America. This unanimous prediction turned out to be a fact!

It was our luck for Jack to arrive before the Middle Atlantic Championships and we were eager to present him to the crowd. We felt this would be a good chance to see how he clicked before an audience who heard much about him but never saw him perform. Bob Hoffman who acted as M. C. for the lifting gave Jack a splendid introduction, adding, he felt pretty certain that Delinger will take top honors in the coming Mr. America contest. Just as we expected the crowd gave him a thunderous ovation and everyone felt they were getting a preview of the new Mr. America. How right they were. Jack won the competition by a large lead.

Jack was born in Oakland, California on June 22nd, 1926. He is of Swedish extraction and his general appearance-light hair and blue eyes betrays this fact. He is inclined to be tranquil and doesn't like to have his training interrupted. While training at the gym one time he became quite upset when someone deluged him with questions. He prefers to concentrate on his exercises without interruption.

Born of sturdy stock he had the misfortune of losing his father before he was born. His father met death when the scaffold on which he was working broke, which plunged him to his death. Jack is the "baby" of the group. He has two older sisters and one brother. None of them has the bulky symmetrical physique he has, be each possesses a fine natural development and good health. None of the others followed any special training. Jack is the only exercise enthusiast in his family.

Ever since he can remember he wanted to be a powerfully built athlete and chose gymnastics as a means to achieve his dreams. He seemed to possess a natural ability for gymnastics and was strong enough to perform a "crucifix" on the rings the first time he tried it. He made the high school gym team with flying colors. Jack started his weight training in a rather odd way. It was while attending Technical High school in Oakland that he was indirectly introduced to weight training.

While practicing on the gym apparatus two of his team mates suggested he come and try the weights at the local "Y" where they trained. He expressed reluctance and felt assured gymnastics would achieve the type of physique he was striving to develop. Nevertheless he accepted the invitation one day and met the others at the appointed hour. He was mildly impressed by the barbell movements the fellows demonstrated, but later was tempted to lift a barbell. Standing off-center in the gym was a 150 pound loaded barbell which he cleaned and pressed overhead with comparative ease. This amazed his team mates who felt they had discovered a potential lifting champion. It wasn't till months later, however, that Jack finally signed up and began using the weights as a medium for furthering his development.

His ambition to become huskier and better built was beginning to materialize. Through coincidence he met Ellwood Holbrook on the beach who was then active in lifting, still is for that matter, who took an interest in him. Holbrook in turn introduced him to his friend, Ed Yarick, who operated one of the best gyms in that locality. Instantly a friendship sprung up between these "two Swedes" and Ed invited Jack over for a workout sometime. Previously Jack had heard much about Ed's knowledge to prescribe exercises for certain fellows which brought them results in record time, and because his own program was "growing stale" he was anxious to train under Ed's guidance. Immediately they formed a working-out partnership. For a year and a half they trained with the regularity of a clock, rarely ever missing a training session. During this time Jack's weight increased from 163 to 195 and his development was phenomenal, Ed was proud of this fine progress Jack was making and told Jack that some day he will reap fame for his physique.

A massive but symmetrical development was his goal. He always trained hard and specialized on parts of his body which he felt were not in proportion. His arms and chest grew larger and rounder; his legs attained prodigious proportions. He was now ready to make his "debut" by entering and winning the "Mr. Northern California" contest. Earlier, however, to gain some "stage experience" he entered the 1945 Mr. America contest and, while he did present a fine appearance, he didn't finish in the first five. His posing ability was poor, his carriage was awkward which hurt his chances, but he entered mainly for experience and profited by it.

Prior to March 1948 he prepared himself for the coming "Mr. Western America" contest held in Los Angeles as the amateur portion of the great Mr. U.S.A. show. Several well known bodybuilders were entered and Jack realized he must appear at his best if he was to win. When the final scores were tallied, lo and behold, Jack Delinger's name headed the list. He won the fight and he well deserved the victory. Now he pointed to the Mr. America contest just a few months away. A setback resulted, however, when three months later Eiferman nosed out Delinger in the '48 Mr. America contest but this defeat, tough as it seemed to Jack, made him more determined to come through the following year. In Cleveland he did come through and thus achieved the goal he had long ago set out to accomplish; winning a Mr. America title.

Upon his return after the contest Stanko asked: "How do you feel, Jack, now that you're Mr. America?" "You know," he slowly went on, "I don't feel any different than I did before I won the contest. I thought winning would be different!"

During the few weeks he spent in York with us we had a lot of fun with him. Every time you saw Jack or Pepper you would see a quart of milk in their hands. They drank a lot of milk daily. When they went on the roof to sunbathe they would always take along a quart of milk under each arm to quench their thirst. Even when they went to a movie they would sport a quart of white fluid under their arms. The ticket seller noting this unusual procedure exclaimed: "Now I've seen everything!" But Jack likes milk. He doesn't drink it only because of the food value it contains, but he enjoys every swallow. Tea, coffee and other drinks are taboo with him. Milk is his main beverage.

Now that he has achieved his goal, the winning of a Mr. America title, he has other things in mind. Already he has had some stage offers and being a very excellent hand balancer he is considering entering this field. Without a doubt he should do excellently on the stage in a herculean balancing act. His physique is extraordinary and he has showmanship on the stage. His partner Sam Buss and he do some wonderful balancing tricks, assuring their chances of success if they pursue this vocation.

Before flying back to the west coast we discussed his chances in a Mr. Universe contest, but he indicated that he might not rate. Personally we all feel that he would stand an excellent chance and many others feel this way too. Anyway if he should enter such a competition the judges will decide that - they always do.

One thing certain, Jack is more muscular and better built than lots of other men who make such claims, and having known him personally for the past few years, I know he has "plenty on the ball" whether he wins another contest or not. People watching him in training or doing his balancing routine on a stage invariably remark, "That fellow is really built!"

When Eiferman surrendered his crown on May 22nd in Cleveland he gave it to another worthy fellow, Jack Delinger, to reign as the current Mr. America. We know Jack will be a very worthy title holder and uphold the honor it represents. We feel, as everyone else does, he deserves the success he has finally achieved and wish him loads of luck during his reign. Good luck, Mr. America 1949!

Photo Captions

Victorious and smiling very happily is our newly elected Mr. America, JACK DELINGER, Oakland, California after successfully winning the title in the recent physique competition. This was a happy moment for Jack and he obligingly assumed one of his favorite poses for the cameraman beside the huge four foot trophy which was donated by Strength & Health for this occasion. Photo by Kuchirchuk.

Left: JOHN GRIMEK discusses last month's cover with Jack and getting his reactions. Everyone agreed it would make a swell did. Note quart of milk in his hand. Below: So he could continue training along similar lines as he did at Yarick's Gym in Oakland he had Ed ship a complete pulley apparatus to York which Jack installed for his use. Here "super-suntan salesman" Stanczyk holds ladder while Jack tightens all bolts securely.

Suntan salesman Stan convinced Delinger to the efficaciousness of Hoffman's suntan lotion as he rubs some into his skin to note reaction while Grimek adn Stan look on amused. All Delinger could say was: It's good stuff, eh? Note the "inspiring" (?) background of Managing Editor, Venables' office.

Before posing for some pictures Jack sits in a very nonchalant and relaxed attitude on the springboard at Bob's pool which shows up his find development and excellent proportions. Jack's development is very impressive either in a posed position or reposing naturally. Photo by Simon Studios, York.

Before leaving York Jack stopped by the York Precision Co. to bid Bob and some of the others goodbye. Bob explained some of the intricate uses of the precision machinery in this place which interested Jack very much. Bob wished him safe journey and every success in life before he departed from "Muscletown", which ended a very happy stay for him.

JACK DELINGER, who likes to "take it easy" watches DICK BACHTELL, former national featherweight weightlifting champ many times, preparing shipments for parcel post. Jack found it easier to watch than to do the job. He expressed amazement at the quantity of shipments made daily.

Coincidentally, Jack and Stan walked into Terpak's office to pick up his trophy when Jules Bacon, who is out in California making final arrangements for our west coast branch called. Jules extended congratulations to Jack via long distance. The huge trophy rests on Terpak's desk.

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