A two-time Olympic champion, he won his first gold medal for the United States in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. He repeated as the Olympic bantamweight champion in the 1960 Rome Olympics, lifting 760 pounds to give the U.S. its only weightlifting medal in that competition. His 237-pound snatch at Rome equaled the word record. Although training only briefly between Olympics, he finished second in the 1958 world championships and was the Pan-American Games champion in 1959.
Native of Cleveland who migrated to Israel in 1970, and in September 1972, while representing his new country in the Munich Olympics, lost his life to terrorists along with ten other members of the Israeli delegation. U.S. national Intercollegiate Champion at Tulane University in 1965 and a member of the United States weightlifting team in 1966 when he won a gold medal in competition with Mexico. Represented the U.S. in the Maccabiah Games twice, winning a bronze medal in 1965 and a gold in 1968. Represented Israel in the Pan-Asian Games in 1971, winning a gold medal, and was elected to the national AAU Weightlifting Hall of Fame in 1974.
A long successful career has marked his competitive participation in weightlifting which began in 1940 and has run up to the present where he has three Masters Division World Records pending. In 1953 he won several “Mr. Physique” contests and placed 5th in the National Junior Mr. America competition in 1957, the same year he was crowned National Junior Weightlifting Champion. Numerous Masters titles have been his, covering multiple weight classifications. In one 6 month span, he broke 32 national Masters Records. In 1973 he entered the Weightlifting Hall of Fame.
An active competitor in Olympic-style weightlifting for 15 years, Howard Prechtel won a world title in 1961. Subsequently he established eight world records in various powerlifting classifications, some of which stood for several years.
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