Cohen, Howard - Weightlifting, 1984
Being too small for team sports in high school may have been a blessing in disguise for weightlifter Howard Cohen. Cohen took up boxing and weightlifting while at Benedictine Military School and continued the two sports after graduation. While in the Air Force, he became an athletic specialist and taught boxing and weightlifting. His first lifting victory came in 1949 at the Carolina Weightlifting Championships, where he won the 114-pound class.
Cohen went on to dominate the field of weightlifting. Starting in 1952, he won all meets in the Southeast region for his class (132 pounds) until 1959. He won his first national title in 1955 and appeared poised to make the 1960 Olympic weightlifting team. Included in his titles were first place awards for the Georgia Weightlifting Championships and South Weightlifting Championships. In 1953, Cohen won a silver medal in the Israeli Games.
In 1959, Cohen set records in every meet he entered. The next year, he posted the highest total lift in America for the 148-pound class, but was injured in training and did not have the opportunity to compete with the U.S. Olympic team. Cohen continued lifting competitively from 1962-74, winning all Southeastern titles during that time. In addition to training his son Michael, who made the 1980 Olympic team, Cohen coached at the national and international level.