The Mark Henry Collection at The Stark Center includes a number of artifacts from Mark’s dynamic career as powerlifter, strongman, Olympian, and wrestler in the WWE. Because 2020 was set to be an Olympic year with the Summer Games hosted in Tokyo, I was curious to get Mark’s perspective on the Olympic experience as a young, amateur athlete. Mark competed in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics at the age of twenty-one. He returned to the Olympics and served as team captain of the US Weightlifting Team in the 1996 Games held in Atlanta.
I invited Mark to The Stark Center so that we could sit down together – at a socially safe distance – and talk about what it was like for him to travel and compete in the Olympic Games. To help illustrate the moment and ignite Mark’s memory, I brought out two pieces from his collection in our archive. First, we look at his Reebok windbreaker, made especially for the 1992 US Olympic Team. Once athletes are selected to the US Olympic Team, they receive a substantial number of clothing items designed to promote both the USA and their respective sports. The US Olympic Committee requires all team members to wear, during Opening Ceremonies, the designated parade uniform and, during award ceremonies, the designated award uniform. All the other clothing they receive may be worn at the athlete’s discretion. One of the leisure wear items provided by Reebok in 1992 was the teal and purple jacket with pink accents that Mark will try on at the end of our video. The second item is a wrestling singlet, the first Mark ever wore in the WWE. It was designed with a very obvious stars and stripes theme. As Mark will explain in the video, he wanted his singlet to reflect the pride he felt for his country after competing in the Olympics.
In recognition of our commitment to exploring the issues surrounding the Olympic Movement, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) granted The Stark Center Olympic Studies Center (OSC) status – one of only three in the United States. OSCs are dedicated to better understanding of the social, cultural, and political impact of the Olympic Movement. I hope you enjoy our video, which can be found here or on our YouTube channel.