Category Archives: Phil’s Muscle Beach Memories

April Atkins – The World’s Strongest Seventh Grader In 1954

In the mid-1950s on California’s famed Muscle Beach, there was one individual who routinely “blew minds” by performing utterly improbable feats of strength. Her name was April Atkins, and unlike the adult strongmen who flocked to this Mecca of physical fitness, she was only in the seventh grade and weighed just 79-pounds. And among those giants, little Ms. Muscle proved herself to be the strongest girl in the world.

From carrying the weight of four adults, the equivalent of 710 pounds, on her back, to holding a man’s full body weight above the sand, while hanging upside down from gymnastic rings and swinging, April became quite a sensation. In fact, a series of photos was even taken of her in 1954 by LIFE’s Loomis Dean, but they never ran in the magazine.

Beyond those photos little more is known about April, so what became of her remains a mystery.

Eddie Giuliani

A bodybuilding legend and permanent Venice fixture.

 

Contest History

  • 1981 IFBB Grand Prix California – NP
  • 1980 IFBB Grand Prix California – 10th
  • 1979 IFBB Canada Pro – NP
  • 1977 IFBB Mr. America – 2nd
  • 1975 IFBB Mr. America – 2nd
  • 1975 IFBB Mr. World – 1st
  • 1974 IFBB Mr. America – 1st
  • 1974 IFBB Mr. Western America – 1st
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. America – 3rd
  • 1971 IFBB Mr. International – 3rd
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. America – 3rd
  • 1970 IFBB Mr. Western America – 4th
  • 1968 IFBB Junior Mr. America – 1st
  • 1968 IFBB Mr. Western America – 3rd
  • 1967 IFBB Junior Mr. America – 3rd
  • 1967 IFBB Mr. America – 3rd
  • 1966 IFBB Mr. America – 3rd
  • 1966 IFBB Mr. East Coast -2nd
  • 1965 IFBB Mr. Northeastern States – 1st
  • 1964 IFBB Mr. East Coast – 5th
  • 1964 IFBB Mr. New York State – 2nd
  • 1964 IFBB Mr. Northeastern States – 2nd