Several decades later, Joe Weider and the promoters of the Mr. Olympia contest decided to honor Sandow and Bodybuilding’s past by resurrecting a version of this statue for their first place trophy. The first Mr. Olympia winner to take home a Sandow statue was Frank Zane in 1977.
Holtgrewe also out “pressed” the great Louis Cyr with a single-arm lift of 287 pounds. It was said that each time Eugen Sandow performed in Cincinnati, Holtgrewe challenged to a lifting contest — and each time Sandow refused.
In 1904, Holtgrewe backlifted two opposing baseball teams at Redlands Field in Cincinnati. The combined weight was estimated at 4103 pounds easily placing him among the strongest backlifters of all time.
As a wrestler, Brinn won the amateur world’s title in 1887 and supposedly once defeated Sandow in a match.
In the act, Sandow played the proverbial “David” initially assailed by the massive Goliath but triumphing in the end and actually lifting his foe and a large cannon with one finger. Their act concluded with Sandow supporting on a board, on his chest and knees, a total weight of 2400 pounds.
Sandow could perform a back somersault with a 56 pound dumbbell in each hand which is pretty amazing when you think about it.
Like many early strongmen, Sandow’s early training consisted of basic gymnastics movements, calisthenics and hand balancing — all of which continued to serve him well throughout his career.
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.
As noted in Physical Training Simplified by Mark Berry, Sampson could perform a Harness Lift with 4008 pounds and frequently collaborated with the famous coin breaker Franz “Cyclops” Bienkowski.
Sampson and Cyclops were both handily defeated by Eugen Sandow in a famous challenge match in 1889.
In 1894, Professor opened his famous Studio of Physical Culture in downtown New York city and it became a hotbed for learning the strongman trade. In addition to Sandow, Professor Attila could list many other famous strongmen among his students: Warren Lincoln Travis, Anthony Barker, Horace Barre, Arthur Dandurand, Lionel Strongfort, George Rolandow, Louis Cyr, Bobby Pandour and Adolph Nordquest.
Attila’s daughter, Grace, later married Sig Klein.