Hepburn, Douglas

HEPBURN, Douglas, weightlifter (b 16 Sept 1927, Vancouver; d 23 Nov 2000, Vancouver). As a youth he was scrawny and handicapped by a withered leg, the result of an operation to correct a clubfoot. He began weightlifting in school and although he was entirely self-taught he won the US championship at Los Angeles in 1949. By that time he weighed 125 kg and was competing in the heavyweight division. Still a relative unknown, he raised money by performing feats of strength in public and paid his way to the world championship in Sweden in 1953, which he won. Back in VANCOUVER he finally attracted public support. The mayor hired him as a bodyguard so that he could train for the 1954 British Empire Games (see BRITISH EMPIRE AND COMMONWEALTH GAMES) where he won the heavyweight gold medal. An eccentric who claimed to be the first of the hippies, he tried his hand at a variety of jobs after his weightlifting career ended, including wrestler, nightclub singer, gym manager, writer and inventor.
by Silas White