Svend Olsen

Posted on Thursday, August 2nd, 2018 by John Wood
Here’s a rare shot of the Danish weightlifter Svend Olsen lifting in the light-heavyweight class at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. Svend finished with the Silver medal after posting a 360 kg total (102.5 kg Press, 107.5 kg Snatch, 150 kg. Clean and Jerk).

This lift appears to be Olsen’s third Snatch attempt of 112.5 kg (which was not passed.) Olsen briefly held two official and one unofficial world records but retired shortly afterwards to become a strongman at the Circus Meihe.

Armwrestling’s First Super Match

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2016 by John Wood
Starting in the 1930’s, the man to beat in the armwrestling (sometimes called “wrist wrestling”) world was California strength athlete and tavern owner Mac Batchelor. People came from far and wide to have a go with Mac but none succeeded, Batchelor undefeated in an estimated 4000 matches.

It just so happened, in the mid-40’s a new challenge showed up in town in the form of Earle Audet, a two-time national champion shotputter and professional football player for the Los Angeles Dons. Audet was also similarly undefeated as an armwrestler …someone had the grand idea to pit these two titans head to head and the first “Supermatch” was born.

December, 16th, 1946 was the date and they met up in the famed Embassy auditorium for a 2 out of 3 falls bout. Audet tipped the scales at 250 lbs., which was certainly large for the time but Batchelor was closer to 300 lbs. Outweighed and out-experienced, it was Batchelor who eventually came out the winner and declared the World’s champion. It should also be noted that the table used was designed by George F. Jowett.

Santell’s Feat

Posted on Thursday, October 15th, 2015 by John Wood

Here’s another strength feat by young Arthur Santell, 19 years old at the time, performing “The Tomb of Hercules” with eight lovely ladies. This picture was taken on April, 28th, 1931 in his hometown of Los Angeles, California and ran in newspapers all over the country.

All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Sledge Hammer Training

Posted on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 by John Wood
Sledge hammer training has always been a very popular way of building forearm and wrist strength among many oldtime strongmen. Based on the leverage principle the sledge hammer makes a very efficient workout tool as it can provide a great deal of resistance without the need for a lot of weight. Here, Murl Mitchell of Los Angeles, tests his wrist strength with a pair of very interesting looking sledge hammers. Look closely and you’ll see that Mr. Mitchell is wearing glasses which he just slightly and gently tapped before levering the hammers back to the vertical position. It was said that these hammers weighed 25 lbs. apiece — Superb. Mitchell also placed second at the Sr. Nationals Weightlifting Championships in 1945 in the 123 lb class with a 470 lb. total.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

Tom Tyler

Posted on Sunday, November 16th, 2014 by John Wood
Tom Tyler, late of Hollywood, California, was the 1928 AAU Heavyweight lifting champion and first American to clean & jerk 300 pounds in an AAU competition. Here’s a rare shot of Tyler at the 1928 Olympic weightlifting tryouts. Believe it or not, this is that Tom Tyler, western movie star and of Captain Marvel fame.

1928 Milo Barbell Advertisement, Featuring Al Manger

Posted on Friday, June 13th, 2014 by John Wood

1928 Milo Barbell Advertisement, Featuring Al Manger

Here’s an interesting one: this 1928 Milo Barbell advertisement features Mr. Al Manger, who built himself up from “a bag of bones” into a weightlifting champion with the power of sensible physical training and a Milo weight set. At the age of 21, Manger weighed only 97 pounds, and within a year of barbell training, had added 26 pounds of solid muscle.

Manger kept at it, and went on to win three national lifting championships, one in the 181 lb. class in 1929 and two light-heavyweight crowns in 1930 and 1932. Manger finished fifth with a 315 kg. total at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic games. Manger also won regional championships in the shot put and weight throwing.

…Pretty good for a skinny kid from Baltimore.

If you would like to learn about the specific types of training that helped Manger build his strength, you’ll find it in The Alan Calvert Collection.

The 1932 Olympic Weightlifting Lightweight Class

Posted on Tuesday, June 10th, 2014 by John Wood

A look at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic games weightlifting Lightweight Class. From right to left (also in order of final standings): Raymond Suvigny of France (287.5 kg. total, also an Olympic record), Hans Wolpert of Germany (282.5 kg. total), Tony Terlazzo of the United States (280 kg. total), Helmut Schafer of Germany (267.5 kg total), Attilia Bescape of Italy (262.5 kg. total) and Richard Bachtell of the United States (252.5 kg. total).

George Roth

Posted on Monday, February 10th, 2014 by John Wood

George Roth

George Roth, from east Hollywood, California, (and eventual USC grad, class of ’42) managed to accomplish a feat which will never again be equaled: at the 1932 Los Angeles games, he won an Olympic gold medal in the sport of Indian club swinging. Club swinging, which was part of the gymnastics program at the time, has not appeared in the Olympic games since then.

Also in the probably-won’t-see-this-again department, Roth, after accepting his gold medal in front of 60,000 people, hitchhiked home.

Philip Erenberg and William Kuhlemeier, also both of the USA, finished with the Silver and Bronze medals respectively. Francisco José Álvarez, of Mexico, finished fourth.

Arthur Santell

Posted on Thursday, February 28th, 2013 by John Wood

Arthur Santell was just a kid from Los Angeles with an interest in physical training who talented enough to be featured the newspaper every once in a while. What we do know of Arthur Santell is that he could drive a 20 penny nail through two 1-inch boards with his fist, break chains with his bare hands and scroll a 1-1/2-inch x 1/4-inch steel band around his arm. This picture was taken on May 6th, 1930. Santell was 18 at the time.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.

The Smith Machine

Posted on Friday, February 8th, 2013 by John Wood

Rudy Smith and the Smith Machine

You’ve heard of the Smith Machine? Well here’s ‘Smith’ as in Rudy Smith who came up with his machine in the early 1950’s as a manager at Vic Tanny’s Gym in Los Angeles, California. Today a Smith machine can be found in just about every gym in the land. In the picture above, Rudy is sitting on the very first Smith machine ever.
All Contents, Including Images and Text, Copyright © 2005-2018 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 © 2005-2018 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.