Recently, Olympic hero and future-WWF superstar Mark Henry made a trip to Titan Tower to meet everyone! I got the chance to sit down with Mark and interview him about his future in the Federation and what it means to him to be join the ranks! Here is what he had to say!
BILL BANKS: Mark, when you were growing up in school, we understand you weighed over 200 pounds by the Fourth Grade. Did people treat you differently because of this?
MARK HENRY: Well, they didn't treat me special. Actually, I got treated kind of badly by the other kids. The adults I knew treated me like an adult but the problem was I wasn't an adult, I was a kid. Both worlds were a problem for me. So, I did have a lot of problems--fighting, being unruly, getting in trouble a lot. I wasn't a bad kid...it's just that I didn't know how to deal with the situations I faced.
BILL BANKS: Is that why you got into powerlifting, to vent frustrations?
MARK HENRY: Well, I saw weightlifting on television for the first time during the 1976 Olympics. I saw the roses being thrown at the guy's feet. That was incredible to me. I just wanted to be that person. Everyone was throwing roses and he was waving to the crowd...it was an awesome sight. And I said to myself, “Now, that's respect for that guy, they love him.” The world was treating him like he was somebody, and that's what I wanted to be.
BILL BANKS: Why did you choose not to use steroids in your career when a majority of competitors, some of whom may have been at the Olympics, chose to?
MARK HENRY: When I first started powerlifting, I didn't know a lot about drugs until I was a senior in high school. Right now, I have a lot of natural ability, and I've been able to win with that. But right now, the top five or eight lifters in the world, powerlifting or weightlifting, are the guys I find take the drugs. And if they weren't taking drugs, then they wouldn't be in competition at all. It's good to have competition, but I would like to have fair competition. It's hard for me to have fair competition when I'm such a great talent. I'm above everyone who doesn't take drugs, and I'm above everyone who does take the drugs. I'm definitely the strongest man in the world drug-free, but I'm also the strongest man in the world, period. When you combine both sports, weightlifting and powerlifting, nobody can get close to what I do. I'm trying to raise the totals as we speak.
BILL BANKS: Are you going to walk away from the sports of weightlifting or powerlifting?
MARK HENRY: No, I am going to continue to powerlift and hopefully become the world powerlifting champion. I want to be the powerlifting champion now until the day I stop. Hopefully I can be the champion for the next ten to fifteen years. There's a chance I will go back into weightlifting right before the Olympic games in 2000. There's a big possibility I may start to throw the discus again and maybe make the Olympic team again in track and field. I'd like to go back to the Olympics and go out and do the best I've ever done. I came in 14th at these past Olympics, but that was the 14th best in the world. It wasn't like I was the 14th best in the state, I was the 14th best around the globe.
BILL BANKS: How do you plan to make the transition from lifting to the wrestling ring?
MARK HENRY: I've always been an athlete who's been able to adapt to anything, be it golf, tennis, basketball, tidily-winks, pickup sticks...whatever. That's what I'm going to rely on with the wrestling. I've always been a tough guy. I've always been able to take a lot of pain and sometimes dish it out. I'm looking forward to getting into wrestling and let the chips fall where they may. It's a sport where you come in and kick butt or you get your butt kicked.
BILL BANKS: What do you think about the rumors going around that many WWF superstars want to train you, case in point being Roddy Piper?
MARK HENRY: I would love to have someone like Roddy Piper in my corner. He's tough, people respect him...and more than that, people fear him. I once heard, one of the gangster-type characters in a movie asked another “Would you rather have someone respect you or fear you?” And, the guy said, “I would rather have them fear me, because if they fear me, they won't cross me. But if they respect me, then they will cross me.” That stuck with me. I would rather have some people fear me, too.
BILL BANKS: When you do get in the ring in the World Wrestling Federation, do you have your sights set on anyone yet?
MARK HENRY: Well, the only person who has done anything to me yet is Jerry Lawler. He's said a few things about me “smelling” and this and that. But I think the time is going to come where we are going to have to settle the score.
BILL BANKS: What do you think of the idea of being a role model to people? Can you handle that?
MARK HENRY: I love the fact, because I'm a clean person. I love kids and there's something about me that I can't put my finger on, but when kids see me, they can see that I'm a playful person. They can see me for who I am...a playful guy. They'll just come up to me and start talking to me. They aren't afraid that I'm real big or anything like that. Kids can always see the true goodness in you.
BILL BANKS: Thanks again, Mark!
MARK HENRY: No problem! I'll see everyone very soon!