He began lifting weights after his brother started going to a weightlifting club started by two brothers in their neighborhood. "I was born in the middle of the Depression, in 1935," he said. "There weren't too many things you could do other than what was free. I started at 9 years of age, and by the time I was 16 I was a state champion in the AAU [Amateur Athletic Union] open division. I found I really enjoyed lifting weights."
George lifted competitively at East High School and then in college and as a graduate student at The Ohio State University, Kent State University and the University of Hawaii. He said his Olympic experience is something that has stayed with him.
His wife of 42 years, Gerri, had his medals framed, and they hang in their home today, he said. "I still think about it quite a bit," he said, adding he also earned five world championship titles. At one point, he said he held the world record of almost 400 pounds for the clean and jerk lift, in which the weights are lifted from the ground to the shoulders and over the head. He also enjoyed the friendships he made through the sport. "This was the era when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. dominated weightlifting competition, but interestingly enough, there was also friendship," he said. "This was the height of the Cold War, but we competed against the same individuals."
In August of 1963, George completed his dentistry training and began practicing -50 years ago this week, he noted. Once he took on his professional duties, he turned his ambition to his practice, he said.
"I was fortunate in as much as going from the thrilling aspects of being a weightlifter to going into a profession that gave me a great sense of accomplishment," he said.
Today, his practice has three locations and he works with his son-in-law, Dr. Mark Grucella, who will take over the practice eventually.
George still works out, but the heavy weights of his youth have been replaced by lighter ones. He also does squats, bench presses and sit-ups and rides a stationary bicycle. In addition, he said he keeps his mind sharp by continuing to maintain a 40-hour work week, filled with administrative duties and seeing patients, though he does plan to wind down in the coming years.