Already a strength star in his teens when he won the British national Championships, in 1896, Launceston Elliot traveled to Athens, Greece to represent England at the very first modern Olympic Games. Elliot had been trained by Eugen Sandow and bared quite a resemblance to his mentor. Things were a bit different back then in weightlifting: they contested two events: the “one-hand lift” and the “two-hands lift” (i.e. the “clean and jerk.”)
In the first contest, the “two hand lift” Launceston tied with Viggo Jensen of Denmark when each lifted 111 kg (244-1/2 pounds). The Gold medal, however, was awarded to the Dane because the judges thought he lifted the weight “in much better form” than his English competitor. In the one-hand event, Elliot lifted 71 kg to the Dane’s 57 and thus Britain’s first Olympic Gold medal winner was crowned!
At the 1896 games, Elliot also competed in the 100m dash, wrestling, and rope climbing events. Elliot performed credibly well in each even but did not match his weightlifting success. After his Olympic achievements, Elliot returned home to England, won the first major physique contest ever held and toured the country as a performing strongman.