Chautauqua County Mourns Loss of Local Sports Icon Killed in Vehicle Crash


Article Contributed by
Chautauqua County Media Information Officer

Chautauqua County is mourning the loss of a local sports icon tragically killed in a vehicle crash this week.

Donald C. Reinhoudt, 78, of Lily Dale, NY, passed away Monday morning at Brooks Memorial Hospital following a single-vehicle car crash on Glasgow Road in the Town of Pomfret.

Originally from Brocton, New York, Reinhoudt was known as the world’s strongest man. He won the title in 1979 in the CBS World’s Strongest Man Contest in Los Angeles after finishing second the previous year.

The Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame documents Reinhoudt impressive athletic ability. From 1971 to 1980, he set 36 world records in powerlifting. As an amateur he set world records in the squat (935 pounds), bench press (606 1/2 pounds) and dead lift (885 1/2 pounds). Reinhoudt was the world champion of the super heavy class and senior national champion of the super heavy class from 1973 to 1976. In 1972 he finished third in the world championships.

As a professional from 1978 and 1980 he set world records in the 8,000-pound trolley pull, 10,000-pound trolley pull, 20,000-pound Mack truck pull, 3,000- pound barrel press and 1,000-pound girl lift. Those honors earned him a place in the Guiness Book of World Records.

“I’m saddened to learn the news of Don’s passing. I will remember Don for his heart, which was as big as the rest of his body,” expressed Chautauqua County Executive PJ Wendel. “He was a true ambassador for Chautauqua County. He especially took care in assisting area youth, as demonstrated by his time working with our Youth Bureau from 1984 to 2007. He also served as the division’s director.”

Don Reinhoudt was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame in 1983. He is also an inductee of the World Power Lifting Hall of Fame, United States Power Lifting Hall of Fame, Fredonia High School Sports Hall of Fame, Association of Old Time Barbell & Strongmen Hall of Fame, New York Power Lifting Hall of Fame and National Strength and Power Hall of Fame.