Born in Portland, Oregon, Ken Patera is a former Olympic weightlifter and USA powerlifter who finished second in the 1971 World Weightlifting Championships, won four gold medals at the Pan American Games and represented the United States in the 1972 Summer Olympics. Patera also finished third in the first World's Strongest Man contest, which was held in 1977. Patera turned to professional wrestling in the early 1970s and evolved into one of the most effective heels in wrestling history for the World Wrestling Federation, National Wrestling Alliance and American Wrestling Association. In fact, Patera was named the Pro Wrestling Illustrated "Most Hated Wrestler of the Year" in 1977 and 1981. Patera held the WWF Intercontinental Championship in 1980. Patera had several managers during his professional wrestling career, most notably Bobby "The Brain" Heenan. Patera's favorite finishing move was the swinging full nelson.