Hercule Elsener ~ Chain Breaking Champion of the World

Posted on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by John Wood

Hercule Elsener ~ Chain Breaking Champion of the World

Francois ‘Hercule’ Elsener, of Roubaix, France was the Chain Breaking World Champion in 1903. Elsener could break chains with ease in every conceivable manner but his specialty was to break them around his chest and bicep.
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.

Noel le Gaulois

Posted on Thursday, March 29th, 2012 by John Wood

Noel le Gaulois

The French strongman Noel le Gaulois was the man to beat at certain lifts in the late 19th century. He won the world’s championship in Brussels, Belgium in 1897, with a two-arm snatch with 220 pounds, a two-arm jerk of 253-pounds and a one-arm snatch of a 143-pounds… All lifts which would still be respectable a century later.

Like many strongmen of the period, he was also a very good wrestler. Later, Le Gaulois owned a café/gymnasium which was the gathering place for the famous strongmen of the day.  Also, so you know, “le Gaulois” was not his actual last name but a nickname The Gaul, which referred to his outstanding mustache.

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.

Bazin: The Cannon Man

Posted on Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 by John Wood
Bazin, The Cannon Man
If you are interested in true “Oldtime” feats of strength, then late-19th century France was the place to be. Whether at a night club, concert, or street fair if there was a crowd present, it was an opportunity for a strongman to showcase his talents.

This extremely rare poster, dating from 1876 highlights, Bazin, The Cannon Man, whose act must have been a sight to see.  Sure he lifted and juggled heavy weights etc… but notice that not only is Msr. Bazin pictured firing a cannon from his shoulder but walking with strapped to his feet as well! Bazin was also a wrestler, and, ironically enough, defeated by English champion Tom Cannon.

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.

Paul Pons

Posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012 by John Wood

Paul Pons

Paul Pons won what is recognized as the very first wrestling world championship in 1898. Pons would go on to win several more world championships in 1899, 1900, 1902, 1903, 1904 and 1910. Like most wrestlers of the day, Pons was also a strongman, and, as a matter of fact, Apollon’s training partner. Though Pons put most of his focus toward his wrestling, he did accomplish several notable strength feats, among them briefly holding the world record in the “Two Hands Anyhow” with a lift of 129 kg. For most of his life, Pons ran a wrestling and physical training gymnasium in Paris where he, Apollon, Batta and many other great French strength athletes trained.
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.

Jean Francois LeBreton

Posted on Monday, November 14th, 2011 by John Wood

French Strongman Jean Francois LeBreton lifts a Globe Dumbbell overhead

Jean Francois LeBreton was the lightweight lifting champion of France in the early 1900’s. One of his greatest lifts was a one-arm dumbbell swing of 200 pounds which was made at a body weight of 200 pounds… an achievement which puts him among the strongest of all time in this lift.

Apollon: King of Strength

Posted on Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 by John Wood
Apollon!
Louis Uni, the French Strongman known professionally as “Apollon,” was certainly one of the greatest, if not the greatest strongman who ever lived. It was Apollon, along with Louis Cyr who were dubbed “Les Rois de la Force” (Kings of Strength) by Professor Desbonnet because their strength was so far above and beyond the ordinary.

Apollon, who was at his peak during the 1890s, stood 6″2′ and, in solid muscular condition, around 260 pounds.

While he was certainly thickly-muscled and strong all over, he excelled in grip an forearm feats, especially lifting thick handled weights, such as the Challenge Weight that bears his name. Also of note is the fact that even though this images was taken well over a hundred years ago with crude photographic equipment by today’s standards, Apollons tremendous “core” strength — built through years of heavy one-arm and two-arm overhead lifting — is evident.

Charles Rigoulot

Posted on Sunday, August 21st, 2011 by John Wood

Charles Rigoulot

Charles Rigoulot was the last great lifter to forgo shot-loaded equipment in international competition. In fact, he won the light-heavyweight Gold Medal  at the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris, France using a shot-loaded barbell — and was actually the only lifter to use shot-loaded equipment in the contest.

Rigoulot was also the first man to clean and jerk over 400 pounds, lifted Apollon’s Wheels. and broke 57 weightlifting records over the course of his career.  One of these records was a one-arm snatch of 261 pounds, which will likely never be broken. Rigoulot was also a very successful professional wrestler and his greatest match was against fellow strongman Milo Steinborn.