1950 Paul receives a football scholarship from Furman University; he begins training with weights, which results in his decision to leave Furman and concentrate on weightlifting.
1955 Establishes the first in a series of world records in the press, becoming the first man in the world to officially press 400 pounds.
- Wins USA National Amateur Athletic Union Weightlifting Championships.
- Member of the first non-dignitary delegation to visit Russia after World War II; his raw strength and power shocked and thrilled the Russian people, who called him a “wonder of nature.”
- Wins World Championships in Munich, Germany, by breaking two world records.