The Pommel Horse

Posted on Wednesday, August 29th, 2018 by John Wood
Like most gymnastic events, the Pommel Horse has its roots in military training. In this case approximating mounting and dismounting a real horse. Early pommel horses actually looked like a horse although once it was adopted into physical training the pommel horse became much more symmetrical, thereby allowing for more elaborate moves. It has been said that the pommel horse is one of the most difficult and technically demanding of all the gymnastic events. This shot was taken at the 1896 Olympics.

By the way, the athlete shown here is Carl Schuhmann who won four Olympic Gold Medals in gymnastics and wrestling in Athens. Schuhmann’s first opponent in wrestling was actually Launceston Elliot and beat him handily. Schuhmann also competed in the weightlifting event, finishing fourth.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Olympic Rope Climbing

Posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2014 by John Wood

Rope Climbing was a contested event at several Olympic games. Here’s a rare shot of the event from the 1906 Athens Summer games which was a 10 meter climb for time, held on April 26, 1906 in the Panathenaic Stadium. Georgios Aliprantis of Greece took the Gold with a climb of 11.4 seconds. Béla Erődi of Hungary and Konstantinos Kozanitas of Greece both had identical climbs of 13.8 seconds but the Silver was awarded to Erődi since Kozanitas accidentally touched the pole from which the rope hung. Notice that these guys were playing for keeps, don’t see any padding underneath. With two countrymen finishing on the medal stand, the rope climbing event was very popular with the Athenian crowd.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc., Not to be reproduced without permission, All Rights Reserved
Author: John Wood. All contents, including images and text, copyright © 2005-2019 by John Wood and Thunderdome Media Inc. Not to be reproduced without permission. All rights reserved. We will most likely grant permission but please contact us if you would like to repost. IMPORTANT: Equipment and books, courses etc. pictured in blog posts are generally not available for sale unless specifically noted.

Tullio Camillotti

Posted on Wednesday, November 27th, 2013 by John Wood
Tullio Camillotti
Tullio Camillotti was an early Italian, weightlifter, strongman and wrestler who won Italy’s first Olympic medal in weightlifting. At the 1906 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, Camillotti took home the Silver medal in the “One-Hand Lifting” contest. (Heinrich Schneidereit won Bronze while Josef Grafl won Gold.)

Launceston Elliot, The First British Olympic Champion

Posted on Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 by John Wood

Launceston Elliot - The First British Champion

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.

Dimitrios Tofalos

Posted on Saturday, April 28th, 2012 by John Wood
Dimitrios Tofalos, Greek Weightlifting Champion
Demetrius Tofalos was a Greek weightlifter who survived a serious childhood
injury and went on to defeat the great Austrian lifter Josef Steinbach to win the Gold Medal at the 1906 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. The winning effort for Tofalos in the “two-hand barbell lift” (i.e. clean and jerk) was 142.4 Kilograms.

t really was a “clean” and jerk, according to the rules of the time, lifters were penalized if the barbell touched any other part of the body as
they brought it to their chest. Tofalos’ record stood for the next eight years.

Tofalos was also a very successful professional wrestler although a defeat by American Champion Frank Gotch forced his retirement. Tofalos eventually went on to manage “The Golden Greek” Jim Londos.

Today, a sports arena is named in Tofalos’ honor in his hometown of Patras, Greece.