Carl Busch was a great strongman and wrestler who was active in the early 20th century. After winning the 1901 German national title, he toured Europe performing feats of strength and wrestling all comers. He even wrestled the great Frank Gotch to a draw under Greco-Roman rules. Busch also wrestled the likes of George Hackenschmidt, Professor Roller, Heinrich Weber, Yousef Holusane, Fred Beell, and even Farmer Burns. As far as feats of strength, Busch could bent press 250 pounds at a bodyweight of only 175 pounds. In 1891, Busch started his own circus which is actually still going strong today if you can believe it.
THIS is why wrestlers practice bridging ~ a strong neck may just be the only thing keeping the shoulders off the mat. This outstanding example of bridging occurred at the 1936 Berlin Olympics Greco-Roman wrestling event. The fellow doing the bridging is Germany’s Kurt Hornfischer (who won the Bronze medal) while Estonia’s Kristjan Palusalu is up top going for the pin. (Palusalu quite impressively took the Heavyweight gold in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling events in Berlin.)
Marijan Matijevic was a great Croatian strongman and Greco-Roman wrestler who was popular during the turn of the century. Nicknamed the ‘Lika Samson’ after the town where he was born Matijevic won his first medals for strength feats and wrestling when he was only 21 years old and collected many more as the years passed. He had a standing offer that anyone who could defeat him in feats of strength could have the entire collection of medals that he had accumulated. He was adept at bending steel bars, barrel lifting, teeth lifting, stone breaking and lifting thick-handled globe barbells. Interestingly, in 1912 he was examined by doctors in Chicago while traveling and performing in America and it was found that he had double the amount of bone tissue as a normal human being. The doctors believed this was one of the sources for his great strength.
1902 was a pretty good year for “The Russian Lion,”George Hackenschmidt. That year he won the European Greco-Roman wrestling championship and took 3rd
place in World weight lifting championships in Vienna, Austria. This rare picture was taken in January, 1902 and Hackenschmidt certainly looks ready to compete for just about anything.
Karl Abs, known as “The German Oak” was the first man in Germany to continental and jerk 330 pounds… he accomplished this feat back in 1885. Abs also won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship in 1894.