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German weightlifter Manfred Rieger, competed in three consecutive Summer Olympics, as heavyweight in 1964 and 1968 and super heavyweight in 1972. Rieger never finished higher than fourth at the Olympics, but he did win seven German weightlifting championships, Above is a snap from the 1967 championship where Rieger set a new German record with a 520 kg total (surpassed his prevoius best by 15 kilograms.)
One interesting training 'gizmo' from strength training yesteryear is the York Barbell Calflex. According to the ads, the York Calflex "allowed the tension to be increased in both directions for complete calf development." Nice.
Charles Highfield, of Coventry, was billed as "The Boy Samson" - the strongest boy in Britain. This picture, taken on taken on February 13, 1932 on Binley Road, by the swimming pool, shows the young strength athlete putting a 100 lb. globe barbell overhead with one hand. while his proud father Bill, looks on.
Denmark-born Magnus Bech-Olsen won the wrestling world championship in 1892 and held the title until 1903. During his competitive years, Bech-Olsen had many memorable battles with the likes of Karl Abs, Stanislaus Zbyszko, Alex Aberg, Paul Pons, Sebastian "Ursus" Jankowsky, Paul Belling, Ernst Roeber, Constant Le Marin and even Frank Gotch. A few years after retiring, Bech Olsen established his own traveling circus.
A very happy birthday to one of the all-time great lifters: Mr. Norb Schemansky celebrates #88 on this day. Norb was the first weightlifter to earn four Olympic medals, taking Silver in the 1948 London Games, Gold in 1952 in Helsinki and Bronze in 1960 in Rome and Tokyo in 1964. Notice that ne missed the 1956 games in Melbourne, making this accomplishment that much more impressive.
Here's a rare look at a cabinet card featuring a young Thomas Inch, demonstrating his card tearing ability. Inch won the title of "Britain's Strongest Youth, at sixteen years of age, so this cabinet card from 1899 would make him around eighteen. Of course, Inch also went on to hold the title of "Britain's Strongest Man" and it's certainly not hard to see why.
Going through our archives is always an interesting experience. There are the well known names, books, courses etc of course, but we often run into other items which are rather mysterious. This 1909 advertisement would certainly fit that bill. Can't say that I've ever come across Dr. S.C. Hall's name elsewhere. Build strength by lifting weights? Pfftt-that's for the birds. Dr. Hall's Electo-Vigor machine will "send glowing, electic fire coursing through your nerves and vitals." Where do I sign up?
Joe Price, the Gloucester Blacksmith, did a lot of leverage work with sledge hammers and even wrote his fantastic (and aptly named) "Vulcan" course about these special exercises. Though this image is not of the greatest quality, you can still clearly see that Price's forearm development is quite impressive.
Ireland's Strongest Man, Michael "Butty" Sugrue, used to celebrate St. Patrick's Day by performing feats of strength in his pub in Kilburn. One of them was to lift a two-hundredweight barrel of beer overhead. Sugrue was a colorful character and led a pretty interesting life, among other accomplishments, he promoted the Muhammad Ali versus Al "Blue" Lewis fight in Croke Park in Dublin in July, 1972.
Peary Rader's Iron Man magazine covered many different lifting topics but focused primarily on bodybuilding. For those who were more interested in heavy lifting of other types, in June of 1954, Iron Man started "Lifting News" which covered competitive Olympic weightlifting and what would eventually become the sport of Powerlifting. Lifting News ran 142 issues.
Above, you'll find the cover of the October, 1968 issue featuring Mel Hennessey, lifting in the 242 lb. class (at a body weight of 217 pounds!), bench pressing 560 pounds at the Northwest Invitational Power Meet held June 22nd of that year in St. Paul Minnesota.