Tribute to a Champ
A Tribute to a Champ
By Freddy Mathis
The Verdict (a Tennessee Prison Publication)
June-August 1995. pg.16
This clip was sent to us by an inmate at South Central Correctional Facility in Clifton TN.
We appreciate him calling this excellent article to our attention.

After twenty years of competition in countless weightlifting tournaments, Harold Sharkley is finally calling it quits.

His career began in 1975 at T.S.P.(Tennessee State Prison), winning first place in his class for powerlifting. He also holds the state prison record for squatting 650 lbs. This same man has been powerlifting champion here (Southeastern Tennessee State Regional Correctional Facility) for the past 3 years.

He's trained champions such as Andy Johnson, and said he would like to train future champs.

When asked why he was retiring, Sharkley replied, "Well, when you get around my age your body starts sending our signals to your brain and in return your brain points out where the trouble is, like aching bones and joints. Then too, I've just about burned out, beating the same people over and over again."

Harold was asked about his successes and what it took to accomplish it all. He replied, "Hard work, self motivation and daily dedication is the key."

Harold would like to thank his spotter and partner David Ray, and would like to dedicate his career in memory of his mother, who passed away in 1990.

When asked what he thought of bills introduced to remove weights from prisons, and the commissioner's decision for the TDOC to stop spending any money on weight equipment, Harold replied, "Weights have occupied my time for many thousands of hours while I have been in prison. If I hadn't had the weights to tire me out, I would have probably been out looking for some trouble to get into. Weights need to stay in the prisons to give us something to do, and as a way to burn up energy and relieve stress."

Below is a photo that accompanied the article.

  • Harold Sharkley champ.jpg 78K bytes

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