Jan Todd's lift of the Dinnie stones occurred during a visit to Scotland in 1979. It is retold in the Sports Illustrated magazine, November 5th , 1979.
It is easily found online in its entirety. It's an interesting article and worth reading. However, it contains a number of inaccuracies regarding Scottish manhood stones and the culture that gave rise to them.
It was during this visit that the iconic photographs of Jan were taken. Photographs of Bill Kazmaier pressing the Inver stone overhead were also from this trip.
Jan used straps for her attempts. The article describes that the lighter stone rose from the ground on each attempt but that the larger stone was defiant. In the article, the final attempt describes the large stone leaving the ground thus:
The lift was thus documented in history as the first female lift the Dinnie stones.
It came under intense scrutiny in August 2018 when Leigh Holland Keen lifted the Dinnie stones off the ground at the 2nd Dinnie Gathering in Potarch, Scotland. I was present that day and filmed her lift, which subsequently went viral on social media. Leigh also used straps.
Did the Large Dinnie Stone Leave The Ground?
A subsequent debate ensued online. Doubts were raised regarding Jan's lift and who specifically was the referee who determined that the larger stone left the ground, or not, in 1979.
It is fair to say that the standard of "debate" was rather low.
The situation was not aided by the existence of a contemporary report which stated that Jan had not been successful in lifting the stones at all. This was printed in the Press and Journal , 5th September, 1979 on page 5 by a reporter named Andrew McKay.
The title of the article states that Jan was successful in lifting the stones but not simultaneously. It states specifically that the large stone shifted but did not rise.
In an attempt to reconcile the conflicting articles from the USA and Scotland, I contacted the newspaper that printed the article in 1979. I wanted to speak with the reporter named Andrew McKay.
In an email exchange with the librarian for Aberdeen Journals Ltd, I was informed
The Andrew McKay page was a general local interest page, and there was no reporter of that name.
A further successful lift of the Dinnie stones by a female was recorded on 19th January 2019. This was by Emmajane Smith from Scotland. She was awarded a full lift with straps and a partial lift with bare hands.
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