IronMan, Vol 7, No 1, Page 5, est. Fall 1946
On the evening of June 2nd in Detroit in connection with the 1946 National Weight Lifting Championships we were privileged to witness the 1946 "Mr America" contest. In addition we had the opportunity to view in all its magnificence the finest manhood that America has been able to produce. As you know this event was won by Alan Stephan who we feel you will agree, after seeing his photos and reading his story, ranks at the top of winners of "Mr. America" contests. If you are interested in Shape he has it. If it is separation, we doubt if any of them have had more. If it is measurements that interest you, you will find his are probably larger than any winner thus far. If it is strength that interests you, this young fellow ranks at the top with John Grimek. Here is a handsome young fellow with a personality, grace and posture that seem natural to him. Here is a man with everything you could ask for. He has the height that so many people demand in a "Mr. America". What else could you wish?
Nothing that we can say or any photo that we can show will give you a true conception of the beauty and magnificence of his physique. If you have an opportunity to see this young fellow in action, don't miss it! We are not belittling Alan's competitors in this event for as you can see they ranked so close to him in the point scoring that it was very close to a tie. However we must consider that this was Alan's first physique contest He had never had any experience at posing before the public. He had only trained for 6 weeks for this event, having been discharged from the Navy just 2 months to the day before this contest.
But let us get on with Alan's story. We'd like to give it to you in his own words. But Alan is a modest young fellow and has asked us to rewrite it.
Alan Stephan was born 22 years ago in Cicero, Ill. (his present home), of Lithuanian parents. His name was Albert Steponaitis until recently when he and his family had it changed to Stephan. His father was a very large and powerful man and at one time had a 22 1/2 inch arm. This arm came from hard work on farms in the old country and later in steel mills in Gary, Indiana. Thus you can see that Alan had a good heritage for the physique he developed.
Alan tells us that he was not unusually strong as a boy, just average. He participated In the regular athletics as a boy in school such as football.
When Alan was 15 years old he visited Douglas park where he saw the great star George Hanus performing on the flying rings. It was George's skill and marvelous development that determined Alan to seek physical perfection. (You may remember George Hanus was the young fellow who some years ago was called the second Grimek. George later gave his life for his country in the Merchant Marines during the last war. Alan speaks very highly of George for his help and inspiration to the young fellows he came in contact with). Alan at once began to ply George Hanus with all the questions he could think of. George gave him a lot of advice and among other things set him a goal of 100 chins to the back of the neck and 100 dips on the bars. During that summer by hard work following the advice of his friend, George, he managed to gain 35 pounds in bodyweight. He also reached 25 reps. in the chin behind neck and the dips on bars.
That fall he entered high school (The J. Sterling Molton High School in Cicero), and joined the gymnastic and tumbling teams. During his high school days he followed a terrific program. He worked out with the gymnastics teams at high school and in the evenings three nights per week he would go to the Douglas Park Gym and work out some more at wrestling and weight training. At that time (or for that matter any time in the future) he was not interested in competitive lifting to any great extent but in bodybuilding. During this time however, he entered a few local and central district A. A.U. lifting meets and won many first places. Alan tells us that his lifts didn't amount to much and he doesn't consider it worth mentioning but as I recall he pressed 260, snatched 240, and clean and jerked 325 when he was 19 at a bodyweight of about 205 pounds. We feel that the above lifts are very good considering that he didn't specialize at lifting but was a bodybuilder.
Alan graduated from High School in June of 1943 and in July entered the Navy. He had his boot training in Farragut, Idaho. One day while working with the physical training class in the desert, his fine physique and ability caught the attention of Lt. Gustafson, the Public Relations Officer of the training station. Alan was immediately transfered to "Ship's Company" at the station to model for the Navy's Public Relations Artists. In this work he posed for Navy Recruiting Posters, Warbond Posters, and many other things requiring a model.
Later he was transferred to the Seabees at Camp Perry, Virginia. He was now assigned as a Judo, Wrestling and Hand to Hand combat instructor. He worked under the former 140 pound world amateur champion wrestler, Roy Moore. Moore is the only white man in the world to earn the coveted "Fifth Degree Black Belt" in Judo contest, which symbolized over a hundred victories in Judo against the best the Japs and Whites could offer. He learned his Judo from the originator. Baron Shimura and then came to the U. S., trained an American team, and took on the best the Japs could offer in their own country. His team beat the Japs. This was before the war. During the war, Moore trained hundreds of Navy, Marine, and Seabee men in the art of the hand-to-hand combat. This was not pleasant work, but was necessary. Alan feels he was very fortunate to be able to work under Mr. Moore as one of his instructors. Alan also won several wrestling and Judo titles in Navy competition.
After several months at Camp Perry, Alan was sent to Davisville, R. I. Then to other U. S. Seabee bases and then to Pearl Harbor for eight months and finally to Guam for another eight months. All this time he had very little opportunity to work out with the weights. The only exercise and training he obtained was what he got in teaching hand-to-hand combat. You can well understand that he had little time to improve his physique for 3 years or slightly less that he was in the Service. On April 2 1946 he was discharged from the Navy. Two weeks later he started training for the Mr. America Contest which allowed him just 6 weeks of training.
A good friend of Alan's persuaded him to enter. He tells us that he hadn't the slightest idea of winning as he didn't feel that 6 weeks would allow for much training and he had no experience whatever in perfect man contests. He did however feel that it would be a wonderful chance to meet all the greats in the game such as Loprinzi, Jantzen, Stern, Voyages, Lauriano etc. who were also entered as well as famous lifters such as Davis, Ishikawa, Spellman, Terpak, Kay, Grimek and many others. Alan felt that after some experience like this and another three or four years of training he might be able to win. He writes. '"To my joy and surprise, I won! I consider it the finest honor that has ever come my way, and I am going to work hard to be worthy of it, and to try to inspire all the young fellows I can to work the same way, just as George Hanus and my friends have inspired me. Anyone who wants to win a physique contest can do so if he works hard and if he begins early enough, as I have been so fortunate to discover this month." Alan tells us that he uses the old standard favorite exercises that everyone uses, with lots of repetitions. In other words there is no secret to his training methods except hard work. He trains very similar to other men who enter perfect man contests. He has done repetitions with 215 pounds in the curl. We would judge that this is just about a world record. We have been told that he has succeeded with 225 lbs. in the curl tho Alan did not mention this. He has also done reps. in the pullover with 200 pounds. He has also supine pressed 330 pounds on a bench and 335 on the floor. These as you will notice are all power lifts with little chance for science to enter in. You will also notice that they class him with the strongest men of our time, or of any time for that matter.
As most of you know, Alan won the best Back contest at the meet. He has a marvelous back with knots of muscles standing out all over it. He also had wonderful separation of the back muscles. Much of his back development probably comes from his practice of chins behind the neck as well as his pullovers. He has a marvelous spread of latissimus muscles.
His advice to new men is to start early, work hard, and don't loose faith and you are sure to win recognition for your physical development.
Alan's future plans include going to University this fall. He doesn't intend to turn professional as he says he is much more interested in obtaining an education than the money he could make as a professional. The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer people took a lot of news reels of Alan after the meet and some offers are being made him but unless they are unusually attractive Alan will turn them down for as he says "I don't consider myself an actor but an athlete! But it is mighty flattering, anyway!"
Most of you have been wondering what measurements the 1946 "Mr. America" has. Here they are at the time he won his title. Age 22, Height 5 ft. 11 1/2 in., Weight 205, Chest 48 1/2, 50 expanded, Waist 31, Biceps 18.4, Forearm 14.5, Wrist 7.5 Thigh 26, Calf 17, Ankle 10 1/2, Neck 17. A few of Alan's measurements have been just slightly larger than this at one time, I believe, but he was trained down fine for the contest. We predict that Alan will soon have a 19 inch arm and perhaps some time he will reach even 20 inches in hard condition. Remember that his father had a 22 1/2 inch arm tho not in the hard condition that Alan is in. We predict a great future for him and extend the best wishes of all the barbell men in the world to Alan Stephan, "Mr. America" for 1946!
- A snap of GEORGE HANUS who was the inspiration of Alan Stephan. George gave his life for his country in the Merchant Marine. It was often said that his physique greatly resembled that of Grimek. He weighed 170 Ibs. at 5' 7" height. He had a 45 chest, 28 waist, 25 thigh and 17 arm.
- Here is a beautiful portrait of ALAN STEPHAN by the famous Chicago photographer, Paul Stone. We have several other fine photos of Alan for future use by this photographer.
- ALAN STEPHAN won the best back division of the 1946 Mr. America contest and the above photo by Mungai shows you the reason. Photos simply can't do his amazing back development justice. His latissimus development is just terrific as we will show you in future photos of him.
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