The Mighty Joe Rollino, dead at 104. Once considered the strongest man alive, pound for pound, Joe Rollino was still going strong until the very end. During his regular morning walk on Monday morning, Rollino was struck by a van while crossing Bay Ridge Parkway in his New York City neighborhood. Rollino died later, after being taken unconscious to Lutheran Medical Center.
The extraordinary man had extraordinary beginnings. Even at a young age, Rollino’s strength was duly noted across the world. The picture of human physical form, Rollino used his body as his greatest piece of work. He could lift 475 pounds with his teeth. He could raise 635 pounds with one finger. He could shift 3,200 pounds with his back, and bend quarters between his teeth and thumb.
Strong, healthy, and dexterous, Rollino had a stamina that extended beyond the feats he’s most known for. Rollino the athlete maintained his health despite his fame, carrying out his dedication to his healthy lifestyle even to the end. The sad irony of Rollino’s death is that he died doing something that was of great importance to him–keeping his body fit.
At the age of 104, however, it was difficult for even Rollino to battle the injuries brought on by being hit by a minivan. With fractures to his pelvis, chest, ribs and face, and head trauma, Rollino was forever struck down. The woman driving the van was not charged, but was summoned for having a defective horn. According to reports, drugs nor alcohol were factors in the tragic car accident.
Living in Brooklyn, Rollino stayed close to his former stomping grounds in Coney Island. Having performed there as a strongman for years, Rollino was a living legend, connecting the island’s past with our present day. People like Rollino help us preserve our culture, giving us direct access to bygone eras and a shared knowledge that can only come from experience.
Given the current attitudes towards health in America, one can learn a few lessons from The Mighty Joe Rollino. Even though extreme with his training and lifestyle, Rollino demonstrated an appetite for life that is rarely seen these days. Having an entire lifestyle revolve around one’s health and preservation is another rarity, as we further depend on established food distribution systems such as grocers and fast food chains for the provision of our daily nutrition.
According to the New York Times, Rollino avoided meat and a variety of dairy products, noting his attention to diet as well as physical fitness. While scientific advancements have helped to extend the human life expectancy, there are nutritional and environmental factors involved that we often overlook.
One way in which Rollino’s legacy can live on is by using Rollino as an example of how a healthy lifestyle can help to take us past the centurion mark as well. It would have been nice to see Rollino celebrate his 105th birthday this coming March, but we will now have to find other ways for his memory to live on.