What's in the Name?
For many years the family name Zinkin has been synonymous with the sport of wrestling in the Central Valley. Although people cannot place a face, or recall events that have brought the family notoriety, they are still able to associate the name Zinkin with the Central Valley and the sport of wrestling.
One reason the name seems to be known is due to the many endeavors in which members of the Zinkin family are involved in. From weight lifting, to property management, the Zinkin family has achieved success in many diverse avenues earning them the honor of a wrestling tournament in their name. They have also been blessed with the financial ability to sponsor it. Buchanan High School is proud to host the Zinkin Classic year after year. It displays well deserved admiration for a family that deserves it, and allows young athletes from all over the state and Central Valley an opportunity to compete against one another. In the few years of the tournament, countless state and section from inside and outside of California have spent the first part of their season wrestling at the Zinkin Classic. It is named after a family of great entrepreneurs and wrestlers and has produced some of the best competition in the state year after year.
The first member of the family to leave a big impact was Harold Zinkin. Harold Zinkin was born in 1922 in San Francisco. He lived there a short time before joining the U.S. Navy to work as a physical therapist during WWII. After spending some time in the Navy he continued to work as a physical therapist for soldiers returning home from the war.
In the 1930’s the California beach craze began and Harold joined; he later became a leader in the phenomenon. He married wife Betty and moved to Santa Monica. He, along with others, are responsible for the creation of Muscle Beach, now located in Venice, California, but was originally in Santa Monica just south of the pier. Every self-respecting bodybuilder in America worked out at Muscle Beach, from Steve Reeves and Charles Atlas to the former governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Weight Lifting on the beach was arguably at the height of its popularity during the 1940’s and 50’s. This was in large part due to the efforts of Harold Zinkin. He was one of the many beach bodybuilders who performed acts of strength to crowds of as many 10,000. Joined by circus performers, gymnasts and old college wrestlers, feats like bench pressing members of the crowd, or 3 and 4 man pyramids were performed daily. Joe Weaver, Steve “Hercules” Reeves, and the famous Jack Lalane were other well-known bodybuilders who performed acts and assisted in making the sport what it is today.
Each man played a major role in shaping the sport of body sculpting and fitness. Steve Reeves starred in over a dozen films and including “Goliath and the Barbarians”, and “The Shortest Day”. Jack Lalane may be the most well known body builder of the time. He was the star of the longest running exercise T.V. show to date. “The Jack Lalane Show”, gave exercise advice and ran for 34 years nationwide. He wrote books, made appearances, and was known for swimming from Alcatraz to San Francisco.
Harold Zinkin had a great career in fitness as well. He was unlike many of the body builders that are participating today. He not only was big and muscular, he was also very strong. He won the U.S. Weight Lifting Nationals, the first Mr. California bodybuilding competition, and runner-up for Mr. America. Most bodybuilders would never come close to winning a lifting competition and vice versa, but Harold was the total package. He was both strong and defined.
With interest in fitness and weight training growing, body builders recognized a universal problem. The popularity of the sport was ahead of the technology of the time. Everyone who enjoyed weight lifting had to always have a partner there to properly spot them. At the time the only resistance training available was free weights. Due to people not knowing how to properly spot, many injuries accrued during the early stages of body building. This situation created a need that would be filled by Harold Zinkin.
He invented the Universal Lifting Machine. Harold Zinkin was the brain behind the first weight resistance machine ever, a machine that allowed people to lift weights without a spotter. Using stacks of plates and a pin, a person would be able to work all groups of muscles. The user would use a pin to select the number of plates they would lift or pull with a wire and a bar simulating traditional dumbbells
and free weights. This concept is the same one used in neighborhood gyms across the country. Harold created the weighted pulley system exploded the fitness movement into what it is today.
Harold’s machine made weight lifting safer. It was small and compact and worked every muscle group. It brought body building home and has inspired nearly all home gyms. Within two years of its release, a Universal Machine could be found in most high schools, every NFL team locker room and the White House. Universal Machines were not only shipped out in large numbers in the U.S., but across the world as well. Harold was the first person to visualize and utilize the self-resistance weight lifting equipment idea that people all use to get in better shape today. Anytime a person lifts weights without a bar or a dumbbell, they ought to thank Harold Zinkin for providing that opportunity to the world.
Wrestling for the family began with Harold Zinkin’s son, DeWayne. Harold relocated to Fresno and DeWayne enjoyed a successful wrestling career at Fresno High. He was undefeated his senior year going into the finals and placing 2nd at the Valley Tournament. This was before the High School State Meet, so Valley was as far as you could go. After high school, DeWayne attempted to continue his career at Fresno City College but was stopped short due to injury. After sports were over DeWayne ventured into property management and building development. DeWayne had three sons (Harold, DeWayne and Nick) and a daughter (Amy). All three boys had very successful wrestling careers in the Central Valley. All three wrestled for their uncle, a former Clovis High Coach, and then Fresno State Head Coach, Dennis DeLiddo. At one point they all were on the same team. All were California State Placers. Nick was a 4x Doc Buchanan Champion (1 of only 2 in the tournaments 30+ year history), 4x Valley Finalist, 3x Valley Champion and 4x State Medalist. DeWayne was a 3x Valley Finalist and 2x Valley Champion. Harold was a 2x Valley Finalist and 1x Champion. In college, DeWayne was a 2x WAC Champion and an NCAA All-American. Harold was a WAC Champion and an NCAA All-American as well.
The Zinkin family has had tremendous success in the sport of wrestling. After wrestling, the brothers applied their work ethic to the business field and enjoyed continued success as a family. The sport of wrestling requires a large amount of discipline that has been very useful in business according to the brothers. Between the three of them they manage MMA fighters and fight promotion, a training gym, a law office and property management all across the Central Valley.
BUCHANAN HIGH'S WORLD CLASS FACILITY
BUCHANAN HIGH'S WORLD CLASS FACILITY
THE ZINKIN CLASSIC
A Premier Tournament in the Western Region
Don't miss the chance to be there in December 2018!
17th Annual Zinkin Classic Dec. 21nd & 22nd, 2018
Please contact Mr. Gabe Flores - Tournament Director - for details!
Cell: (559) 706-1503 Email: GabeFlores@cusd.com