The Ottumwa Courier


August 24, 2006

Back-Handed Record: Ottumwa native Morrow sets world push-ups mark

OTTUMWA — Ottumwa native John Morrow tells people that when you decide what you really want in life, go for it.

It’s that attitude that has made the 54-year old a world-record holder.

Morrow, who is adjunct professor of physical education at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, broke the Guinness Book of World Record’s mark for backward-hands push-ups on May 5 with 123 in a one minute time span.

Morrow’s inspiration to become a world-record holder came by accident while sitting in a waiting room at the doctor’s office. Morrow leafed through a muscle magazine and noticed a story on “the greatest feats of strength.”

“I said, ‘I think I can do that,’” said Morrow.

Morrow’s accomplishment came after repeated attempts when he thought he had broke the conventional style push-up world mark.

Three different times Morrow has claimed to have broken the world mark with push-up totals of 123, 137 and 142, all in a minute.

His first attempt at a world mark centered on the long sleeves that Morrow wore during his bid. Guinness officials said they couldn’t be sure if he did the push-ups correctly because the long sleeves made it hard for them to see his hands.

Another was denied because the person filming the record attempt shot too close and didn’t get all of his body captured on video, specifically his legs, so the claim for a world record was denied.

What did Morrow do?

He ripped off 142 push-ups, only to be told by Guinness officials that their experts said it was “physically impossible” to do any more than the current record of 138 in a minute. They closed the category and Morrow moved on.

Moved on to the back-of-the-hand push-ups, a lot harder because the wrist is at a 90-degree angle, but something Morrow knew he could do. Give him a challenge and you can expect a significant result.

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