Alameda athlete Yazolino discusses battle in new book

Regardless, Alameda athlete Paul Yazolino has enjoyed an absolutely remarkable multisport career with highlights including a silver medal at the 1967 National Powerlifting Championships, a Mr. USA Masters Bodybuilding title in 1979 and a first place in the 500 meter competition at the 1996 World Masters Sprint Cycling Championships.

Paul Yazolino appears after a hard workout at Hellyer Velodrome Track in San Jose circa 2000. (Photo courtesy of Sheryl Yazolino)

Yazolino further challenged himself on his 45th birthday in 1983 by climbing San Francisco’s famed Lombard Street while carrying a 308-pound barbell on his shoulders, and on his 50th birthday in 1988 by climbing Mount Diablo in less than an hour. to kick. While these achievements garnered much attention and admiration, few knew about Yazolino’s lifelong struggle with depression and anxiety.

Yazolino is now sharing his story in “Unlikely Champion: The Paul Yazolino Story,” a new book he co-wrote with author and fellow Alameda resident James Francis McGee. Yazolino describes his life journey in the book, starting as a shy child growing up on Alameda’s Regent Street.

Unlike today’s times when mental health issues came to the fore, Yazolino grew up in an era where they were largely ignored, rejected or ridiculed. Encouragement to write the story began with Dr. Danny Goldstine, the chief psychologist at the Berkeley Therapy Institute (who wrote the book’s foreword).

“For about 10 years I’ve been involved with Dr. Goldstine, who told me, ‘I want you to write your life story, including your struggles,'” Yazolino said.

So Yazolino did that, but it took a while to get it done. It was also about ten years ago when Yazolino met McGee, who, like Yazolino, grew up in Alameda as the middle of three brothers (Yazolino graduated from Alameda High School in 1957 and McGee in 1982).

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