French Weightlifter Henri Ferri is all smiles as he sets a new 82 kg one-arm record lift at the Japy Gymnasium in Paris, circa 1945. How many lifters do you know of who can put bodyweight overhead with one arm? Ferrari was a 9-time French Champion and set 28 French records and nine World records in his career. Ferrari also won a Bronze medal at the 1946 World championships in the Light-Heavyweight class with a 390 kg total (120kg+120kg+150kg).
Here the little-known french weightlifter Georges Theurillat performs a support (?) with an excellent globe garbell weighing in at 360 French Livres. That’s roughly 388 pounds. Note the sand-pit floor (which was more forgiving to the globe barbells if dropped) and the cannon on the wall (which was indeed for lifting.)
Another great shot of the champion French Weight lifter Ernest Cadine at the conclusion of a heavy one-arm snatch. Even though the quality of this old picture is not perfect, Cadine’s incredible muscle density is evident.
It’s not hard to see why he won the gold medal at the 1920 Olympic Games, likely around the same time this picture was taken.
Note the cannon on the wall behind him. Yes, it was used specifically for lifting purposes.
History’s greatest performer of the One-Arm Snatch was the French weightlifter Charles Rigoulot. His one-arm snatch of 261 pounds will likely never be surpassed. Here, Rigoulot prepares to one-arm snatch only 220-1/2 pounds in Paris in 1925 while still an amateur .
The great French lifter Alexandre’ Maspoli was born in Lyon, France in 1875 and was an amateur champion an astounding 19 years in a row (1901 to 1920). He won a Bronze Medal at the 1906 Olympic Games. He also competed in the long jump in the 1906 games but did not place. Maspoli’s greatest lifts include a right hand snatch of 207-1/2 pounds, a two-dumbbell clean and press of 231-3/4 pounds, and a two-dumbbell jerk of 298 pounds. Maspoli was also a successful sculptor – a true Renaissance man.
Louis Vasseur, Of Roubaix, was the first man to one-hand snatch 100kg (220 lbs.), a feat which he accomplished in 1911. Vasseur was also a great track and field athlete who excelled in the throwing events, especially the discus, in which he set a French professional record with a throw of 41.6 meters in 1912.
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 bodyweight of 200 pounds. — An achievement which puts him among the strongest of all time in this lift.
Alfred Decottignies, shown here ‘muscling out’ a block weight whilst simultaneously pressing a heavy globe barbell overhead, established the Comines Weightlifting Club in northern France in 1892. The club is still going strong today making it the oldest ongoing weightlifting club in existence. Alfred’s son, Edmond Decottignies went on to win the gold medal in the lightweight class in the 1924 Paris Olympic games.
The French weightlifter Rene Duverger won the Gold in the lightweight class (67.5kg) at the 1932 Olympic games in Los Angeles, California. Duverger’s total was 325kg on the day and comprised of a 97.5 kg press, a 102.5 kg snatch and a 125 kg clean and jerk.
Another look at the great French champion Charles Rigoulot. In October of 1928, at the famed Voltaire Gymnasium, shown here, Rigoulot set two world records: a clean and jerk of 360 pounds and a snatch of 282 pounds. Rigoulot preferred shot loaded “globe” equipment long after they were out of fashion. The large globes shown here pointedly maintained the same bar distance from the floor as the newly established barbell plate standard, so Rigoulot’s lifts were recognized as official records.