Magnus Bech-Olsen

Posted on Saturday, May 4th, 2013 by John Wood

Magnus Bech-Olsen

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, Antonie Pierri,Paul Pons, “Ursus” Jankowski, Paul Belling, Ernst Roeber, Constant Le Marin and even Frank Gotch. A few years after retiring from wrestling, Bech Olsen established his own traveling circus.

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.

Georg Lurich

Posted on Sunday, March 18th, 2012 by John Wood

George Lurich

Estonian born Georg Lurich was a great wrestler and strongman during the early 1900’s. He was was a great friend and training partner to George Hackenschmidt (It was actually Lurich who introduced Hackenschmidt to weightlifting.) Lurich’s brother-in-law was Alex Aberg, another champion wrestler of the time period.


Lurich won the World Greco-Roman Wrestling Championship in 1912 and was the last man to face Frank Gotch before Gotch retired in 1913. As far as strength feats, among others, Lurich is credited with a one-arm jerk of 267 lbs., and a two-arm clean & jerk of 344 lbs — both of which would still be impressive today.

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Posted on Sunday, March 4th, 2012 by John Wood

The Great Gama: Lion of The Punjab

Ghulam Muhammad, The Great Gama, is the greatest Pehlwan, or Indian wrestler, who ever lived. He is the only wrestler to remain undefeated throughout the course of his entire career which spanned over 5000 matches.

The Great Gama publicly challenged all comers and easily defeated the likes of the American Champion Dr. Benjamin Roller (who he “threw” 13 times in 15 minutes), Stanislaus Zbyszko of Poland, the European John Lemm of Switzerland, and Maurice Deriaz of France. Interestingly, Gotch and Hackenschmidt refused to face him.

Gama’s daily training routine consisted of thousands of traditional squats and pushups… and after seeing him train, many would-be challengers wanted no part. The object Gama is seen holding here was not a piece of training equipment but an ornamental scepter known as a Gurz, the Indian Wrestling version of the Championship Belt.