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.

Hans Zdrazila

Posted on Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 by John Wood

They say a picture is worth a thousand words… if you are paying attention to this one, your take away should be that the overhead dumbbell press is an exercise worth adding to your training. Core strength? Yeah, you can see his abs through his shirt. The man at the other end of those awesome dumbbells is Hans Zdrazila, Czechoslovakian weightlifter who took home the gold medal in the middleweight class at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan (with a 445.5 kg total, btw).

Rudolf Ismayr

Posted on Friday, April 13th, 2012 by John Wood

Rudolf Ismayr

Rudolf Ismayr, seen here in mid-clean with what looks like to be about 265 pounds, won the Gold Medal at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California where he totaled 345 kg in the Middleweight class. Four years later, Ismayr was chosen to read the Olympic Oath at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany (at which he took the Silver Medal with a 352.5 kg total.)

Rudolf Ismayr

Posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 by John Wood

Rudolf Ismayr

Rudolf Ismayr, seen here in mid-clean with what looks like to be about 265 pounds, won the Gold Medal at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, California where he totaled 345 kg in the Middleweight class.  Four years later, Ismayr was chosen to read the Olympic Oath at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, Germany (at which he took the Silver Medal with a 352.5 kg total.)

Ernest Cadine

Posted on Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by John Wood

The French weightlifter Ernest Cadine with a classic globe barbell

Ernest Cadine was a French Weightlifter who won the Light-Heavyweight Gold medal at the 1920 Olympic Games held in Antwerp, Belgium. His winning total was 295 kg (649 lbs.) though the contested events were very different then: the one-arm snatch, the one-arm clean and jerk and the two arm clean and jerk. His performance in these lifts was 70 kg, 90 kg and 135 kg respectively. He also set six World Records over his competitive career.

In 1925, Cadine performed a one-arm swing with 90 kilos which was actually greater than his own bodyweight. Cadine could also right hand snatch 211 pounds and one-hand deadlifted the famous Apollon Wheels.

Also of note is the sand-pit floor — you’ll see this feature a lot in old school physical culture gyms as it made it so globe barbells and dumbbells were not damaged if they were ever dropped.

Josef Steinbach

Posted on Wednesday, December 14th, 2011 by John Wood

Josef Steinbach

Josef Steinbach of Vienna, Austria, was one of the greatest weightlifters and strongmen of the early 20th century.  Some of his best marks include: a two-hand Continental and Jerk of 387 pounds, a two-hands Snatch of 264-3/4 pounds and a two-hand Continental and press of 335 pounds (besting Louis Cyr’s mark by 34 pounds.)
He won the world amateur weightlifting title from 1904 through 1906 and went on to win the Gold medal in the “One Arm” event and a Silver medal in the “Two Arm” event at the 1906 Olympics.

Paul Anderson’s Gold Medal Lift

Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2011 by John Wood

Paul Anderson's Gold Medal Winning lift at the 1956 Olympic Games

Here’s a rare shot of the great Paul Anderson at the exact moment he won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, Australia on November 26, 1956. The Russians, who had seen Big Paul in action previously, figured he would run away with it… But It was no cakewalk. Anderson had developed an inner-ear infection during the trip over which gave him trouble with his balance and caused him to miss lifts he ordinarily would have made with ease. Like a true champion, he fought through it and prevailed to take home the Gold with a 500 kg total.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Yuri Vlasov

Posted on Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011 by John Wood

Soviet Weightlifting Champion Yuri Vlasov in his training hall with a Russian Olympic Set

The great Soviet lifter Yuri Vlasov was a Gold Medal winner at the 1960 Rome Olympics, a four-time Senior World Champion (1959, 1961-1963) and won six consecutive Senior European Championships (1959-1964). Vlasov set 34 World records over the course of his career. Also of note is the truly excellent Russian Olympic weight set at his feet… They sure don’t make ’em like that any more (both weight set AND lifter.)
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2021 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 © 2005-2021 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.

Filippo Bottino

Posted on Monday, November 21st, 2011 by John Wood

Filippo Bottino, Italian Weightlifter, presses a barbell overhead

Italian Weightlifter Filippo Bottino, was the Gold Medal winner in the Heavyweight class at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium. Two years later, Bottino broke the world record in the Press, becoming the first Italian lifter to ever set a world mark. He also won 11 Italian weightlifting titles and later finished 6th at the 1924 Olympics in Paris, France.

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.