Religious broadcaster Pat Robertson says it is the God's honest truth — he did, indeed, once leg-press a ton when he was almost 73 and had prostate cancer, and he still regularly lifts up to 1,200 pounds with his legs.
But he acknowledged that the way he leg-presses would not be legal in a weightlifting competition.
The "700 Club" host's feat is recounted on the Web site of his Christian Broadcasting Network in Virginia Beach. But sports experts questioned the assertion in recent weeks, with one noting that the leg-press record for football players at Florida State University is 665 pounds less.
A spokeswoman recently released a photo she said showed Robertson leg-pressing 2,000 pounds on Feb. 1, 2003. Robertson had surgery to remove a cancerous prostate gland later that month and turned 73 that March.
"I did it one time, one rep, but I had built up to it for about three years," Robertson insisted on Wednesday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press, the first time he has spoken with a reporter since the leg-press brouhaha.
Robertson said his doctor encouraged him to leg-press weights to strengthen his bad knees.
Kept the brake on
But he said he did the 2,000-pound lift on an incline leg press with the machine's brake on, which means he did not have to lift the weight the whole way.
"When the professionals do it, they take the brake off and let the weight come all the way down on them. And if you don't have a lot of help, you've got a Volkswagen sitting on your hips. I didn't do that," he said.
CBN's Web site has a video showing Robertson leg-pressing 1,000 pounds. The Web site attributes Robertson's energy in part to "his age-defying protein shake." The site offers a free recipe for the shake, with ingredients including soy and whey protein, flaxseed oil and apple cider vinegar.
Robertson also has licensed his name to Columbus, Ohio-based Basic Organics Inc., which makes a similar product called Pat's Diet Shake.
"We're selling the thing like crazy. There are thousands of people who want to get it. They think the shake had something to do with my ability to lift weights, and I don't think it did," he said, chuckling.
Robertson said he takes about 45 vitamins and minerals daily, abstains from sweets and soft drinks, eats lot of salads, fruits and nuts and rides horses, plays golf and works out.