Despite the handicap of a club foot, Doug Hepburn rose to the zenith of his competitive career in 1953, when he shattered all existing records to become the “strongest man in the world.” Along the way, Doug continuously broke weightlifting records. He was named “BC Man of the Year” in 1954, and received the Lou Marsh Memorial Trophy for “Outstanding Athlete of the Year.” Hepburn was also inducted into both the Canadian Amateur Sports Hall of Fame (1953) and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Hepburn entered competition in 1948, and set an unofficial Canadian record (pressed 300 lbs.) at his first competition. He took the U.S. Open title in 1947, by pressing 345 lbs and won the World Heavyweight title in 1953, in Stockholm, Sweden lifting a total of 1030 lbs.

At the 1954 Western Zone British Empire and Commonwealth Games weightlifting trials, Hepburn broke the world press record with a lift of 381 lbs. In 1954, he won the gold medal in the heavyweight class at the British Empire and Commonwealth Games held in Vancouver. He set new Games records by lifting a total of 1040 lbs. (370 lbs – press, 300 lbs. – snatch, 370 lbs – clean & jerk).

During the 1954 Games, Hepburn’s team-mate, Dave Baillie, also won a medal in the heavyweight class (silver). The two medal winning performances were unprecedented – it was the first time that two weightlifters from the British Empire (or two from the same country) lifted 1000 lbs or more on the same platform at an international contest.

To read more on the career of Doug Hepburn, please see the August 2022 Curator’s Corner article here: