Olympic Weightlifter Joe Dube’ Sr.

August 7th, 2012, 8:30H · Topics: Famous And Not So..., Guys, Sports · Print

I recently had the privilege of meeting Joe Dube’ Sr. who won a Bronze Medal as a Heavyweight Weightlifter in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.  Dube’ grew up and trained in Jacksonville setting records as a Junior Weightlifter before setting his sights on the Olympics. I showed him this particular photo that Loyd Sandgren had taken of him and he told me the story behind it.

“That was taken in my old garage when we lived over on the Southside over there close to St. Nicholas on Camden Road.  My brother and I were buying an old house from our aunt and we lived there together and we had a garage in the back and we trained in that garage.  That was about the time that I set my Junior World Records in the Heavyweight class and I was the first teenager to ever press 400lbs. and that was about the time that I was breaking those Junior World Records and also went to trial for the Olympic team in 64’.  That right there was 800 and something pounds that I was lifting on my shoulders.  I was 19 years old there, in 1964.  But that was the old garage, boy we did some good lifting in that garage.  Training, a lot of heavy training.  We had a good time living there, my brother and I.”

“They did an article on me in Strength and Health Magazine called Lifter’s Corner and they had several pictures, and that was one of the pictures that was taken.”

“In 64’ I went to my first Olympic trials but a few months before, about three months before, I got hit by a car.  If I hadn’t gotten injured I would have been a shoo-in to make the Olympic team that year.  But I got hit by a car there at that old Milligan’s (hamburger restaurant at the Southgate shopping center on Beach Blvd.) in the drive through.  I was goofing around and these two girls were driving up through the drive through and I got down to challenged them a little bit, just to scare them a little bit, like I was on a football line and I kind of charged a little bit towards the car and they panicked and I tried to get out of the way.  I jumped to try get out of the way because the girl, instead of hitting the break hit the gas, and boy, the car just shot off and I jumped out of the way and the car hit my leg and knocked me into a big plate glass window and glass flew all over me.  One piece went into my ankle, went about that deep into my ankle and they had to rush me to the hospital.  But it busted that whole window out, and that was a big window too.  But goofing around messed me up and you can’t do that when you got something coming up that is so important you know, Olympic Trials. So I learned a good lesson right there not to goof around and mess myself up or get injured before a big championship.  But I still went on and lifted.”

Joe’s injuries did not allow him to train as he needed to and he did not qualify during the trials held at the New York World’s Fair in 1964.  He took a break from weightlifting, refocused and then qualified for the 1968 Olympic Game in Mexico City.

This photo just hurts to look at it.  Amazing strength.  There will be more from my visit with Joe Dube’ to come…

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  1. 1 Jon August 8th, 2012 7:29H

    Wow! That’s a cool photo to begin with, but the story you uncovered breathes interesting new life into it.

  2. 2 Robert Snowden August 17th, 2012 10:46H

    I went to Arlington Elementary school with Joe Dube. I remember him well, at least in part because I thought it so unusual that a fifth or sixth grader would walk around the school grounds during recess, picking up logs and anything heavy he could find. As I recall, he was not especially interested in academic pursuits, but he was a nice kid.

  3. 3 Al Dube February 10th, 2016 23:00H

    As I look back over the years,so many wonderful things took place in our family.But there were a lot of struggles to.Our Mother was hit by a Railway Express truck in 1962 and she barely survived that accident.It took 5 to 6 years before she could walk again.She also accidentally burned herself with scalding hot water one day when her hand knocked a pot of hot water off the stove and it blistered her legs for a few months.That tore me to pieces hearing my mother scream from the pain.My twin,Clifford and I had two strong brothers(Joe and Virgil) we could look up to and be so very proud of.We grew up in a very rough neighborhood and the 4 of us had to be strong to survive.We also had a very strong Mother and Dad to support us and raise us to be respectful of others first.Our parents loved us so very much and were protective of us.And they did their best to raise us right.Mama and Dad was so very proud of us and that’s an understatement.Joe and Virgil sure loved their weightlifting and training.I used to go over to stay with them on the weekends at their house on Camden Avenue and we always had a lot of fun.We loved going to Milligan’s and chow down on over 80 cheeseburgers at least.I used to help Joe and Virgil load weights on the barbell a lot when I wasn’t playing Virgil and Doug’s console stereo in their living room.I was a record collector and still am today and a Southern Gospel DJ in middle Ga.I’m still so very proud of their accomplishments in weightlifting.Mama used to tell them that “a winner never quits and a quitter never wins”.That statement from Mama instilled in them all the determination they needed.We lost our dear and loving Mother in 1971 and our Father in 2006.We will always cherish their memory.
    I was so glad to be there that night Joe Cleaned and Jerked the Jr. World Record of 400 3/4 lbs just days before his 20th birthday at Jax. beach.If memory serves me correctly,Paul Anderson was there that night to.So many wonderful memories over all these wonderful years.I wouldn’t trade anything for them.

  4. 4 Al Dube February 10th, 2016 23:14H

    BTW,it is true that the 4 of us(Virgil,Joe,Clifford,and I won 1st place in an AAU sanctioned weightlifting contest one night in Jacksonville,Fl. on Riverside Avenue.It seems like it was 1962.I believe the contest was held at the YMCA.Cy Crawford was so very proud of us that night.Virgil and Joe insisted that Clifford and I enter the contest so we did after signing up to join the AAU.We 4 had a blast that night along with Cy.”DUBE BROTHERS DOMINATE LIFTING” was in the Sports section of the Jacksonville Journal the next morning.Wish I had a copy of that.

    • 5 bob February 11th, 2016 10:23H

      Al, Thank you for your contributions to this post. Bob Self/Vintage Jacksonville

  5. 6 Al Dube March 29th, 2017 1:55H

    BTW again,I’m still doing my DJ’ing duties here in Middle Ga. at WQXZ 103.9 FM and 4 other stations on Sunday mornings.Playing the Southern Gospel that the listeners love.I need to make a correction to an earlier post.Joe cleaned and PRESSED the 400 3/4 lbs. just before his 20th birthday.Not cleaned and jerked which was my mistake.
    Virgil,Joe,Clifford,and I used to love to go to Woodland Acres elementary school with some other boys from the neighborhood and play baseball at the ball field.Joe and Virgil could really cream the baseball way over the fence.And we also played ball at other areas in the neighborhood.
    We never did go out looking for trouble in our neighborhood.Mama would not tolerate that,it’s not the way she taught us.But she also taught us never to run away from it.Because it would just be there the next day.She told us she’s not raising cowards.And we weren’t.But we respected others like Mama taught us to do.We got into some scruffs every now and then,nothing serious.Just like any other kids back then.We weren’t perfect,no one is.But Mama and Daddy did a great job at bringing us up the right way.And to respect our Elders.Not that I’m trying to boast.We just had a great time together growing up and getting our recreational time in.It wasn’t about Weightlifting all the time.We even played dodge ball a lot right out in the street in front of the house.

  6. 7 Max October 3rd, 2019 1:26H

    Was just studying the photo and I’ve added up the plates several times and sure don’t see “800 and something pounds” and what exactly did he DO with the weight? Did he just unrack it and hold it for a pic or did he actually Squat with it? He just says “800 and something pounds that I was lifting on my shoulders” and doesn’t refer to any particular movement with the weight.

  7. 8 DENIS DUBE January 30th, 2020 23:13H

    I always wondered if we were related.
    My grandfather and father are from leweston, main.
    we are all short frenchmen but very strong.

    • 9 Alfred Irvin Dube December 1st, 2020 22:43H

      Hi Denis,our grand parents were from Lewiston,Maine also.So we’re probably related.Cousins most likely.

  8. 10 Tom Murphree June 11th, 2023 13:32H

    I can’t believe this , ( just an expression )
    back in the sixties , when I was a young teenager ( I’m 72 now ) , or maybe before 13
    I was looking at a Strength and Health magazine our family subscribed to . I always remembered the article and the name Joe Dube . I was impressed . Here it is 2023 , and I decided to see if I could find anything about Joe Dube . I typed in Joe Dube weightlifter on Google search , and there it was ! How cool can you get ! ?

  9. 11 paul travis May 29th, 2024 21:19H

    I was fortunate enough to seeJoe lift at the 1968 senior nationals and the Olympic tryouts. He was the best presser I ever saw. He was also a very nice person to talk to as I did a couple of times

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About Photographer Loyd Sandgren

I first met Loyd Sandgren in 1997 as I was putting photo gear back into my car after... Learn More