Pat Robertson can lift a ton ... no, really

leg press machineThis has to be the most ridiculous Pat Robertson story ever. I'm only highlighting it to show how ridiculous Robertson coverage can be. Sometimes people should just ignore the guy. All this story is doing is driving up the sales of an energy shake. To explain how Robertson and his energy shakes got into the news, we start with CBS Sports Online's SPiN columnist Clay Travis, who wrote on May 22 that he heard from a reader that former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright's claim that she could leg-press 400 prounds was "nothing" and that Robertson can leg-press 2,000 pounds. Oh and by the way, Robertson is 76 years old.

Travis predicted that Robertson's gym didn't even have 44 of those 45-pound weights. Considering my old gym, where I paid way too much membership money, had about 30 of them, for four machines, I was with him on that one.

But alas, Robertson can, according to his spokesman Christopher A. Roslan, leg press 2,000 pounds! Also known as a ton. Which is a lot of weight. A ton can crush and kill a man. I know this because newsprint rolls, at least when I was a kid, weighed about 2,000 pounds and accidents were known to kill.

Somehow I still doubt Roslan, and here's why. Travis writes:

There is no way on earth Robertson leg presses 2,000 pounds. That would mean a 76-year-old man broke the all-time Florida State University leg press record by 665 pounds over Dan Kendra. 665 pounds. Further, when he set the record, they had to modify the leg press machine to fit 1,335 pounds of weight. Plus, Kendra's capillaries in his eyes burst. Burst. Where in the world did Robertson even find a machine that could hold 2,000 pounds at one time? And how does he still have vision?

As something of a sports junkie, I found these initial articles relatively amusing. It's pretty clear that Robertson is just trying to sell his protein shake, but so are lots of people, and this isn't the first time someone has made a ridiculous claim of strength.

This story was destined to dwell in obscurity until the Associated Press, apparently with little else to do, decided to release the results of its investigation on Monday. It must have been a slow Memorial Day weekend:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says he has leg-pressed 2,000 pounds, but some say he'd be in a pretty tough spot if he tried.

The "700 Club" host's feat of strength is recounted on the Web site of his Christian Broadcasting Network, in a posting headlined "How Pat Robertson Leg Pressed 2,000 Pounds."

According to the CBN Web site, Robertson worked his way up to lifting a ton with the help of his physician, who is not named. The posting does not say when the lift occurred, but a CBN spokeswoman released photos to The Associated Press that she said showed Robertson lifting 2,000 pounds in 2003, when Robertson was 73. He is now 76.

Even the photo accompanying the story is controversial. Provided by the Christian Broadcasting Network, the date stamp reads Aug. 1, 1994, but a CBN spokesman said it is from 2003.

Apparently the leg-press isn't even legitimate. According to CBN information, the 2,000 pounds were loaded onto the machine by two men and they then let the weight down on Robertson, who pushed it up once and let it back down once. I'm also told there is a video of the event. The AP investigation revealed that the weight was 1,000 pounds.

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