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In 1927, a teenaged Sam Loprinzi watched famed strongman Clevio Massimo perform at the Portland Hippodrome. Loprinzi and his brother Joe were so impressed they fashioned themselves a set of barbells from cement and an iron pipe. After launching a navy weight-training program during World War II, the five-foot-six Sam went on to place second in the 1946 Mr. America competition. Two years later, he and Joe launched Loprinzi’s Gym on SE Division Street. With an emphasis on free weights and massive, hand-built resistance machines, Portland’s original sweatshop has trained generations of champion bodybuilders. Sam died in 1996, but that's him, above, immortalized in his prime among the vintage photos that decorate his gym.

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