Shown is Greek Weightlifter Perikles Kakousis on his way to winning the “Two Hand Lift” Weightlifting competition at the 1904 Summer Olympics held in St. Louis, Missouri. This lift of 246 pounds was good enough for the Gold Medal and set the world record at the time (breaking the old record by a mere four ounces.) The judge Dr. R.Tait McKenzie (a noted physical training author, btw) looks on from the right. At the same games, Kakousis also competed in the Tug ‘O War event although his team only finished tied for 5th place.
In 1906, the writer A.B. De Guerville wrote a travelogue of Egypt. At one point during his adventures, De Guerville had a chance to observe the members of the Egyptian police academy go through their exercises which involved gymnastics, shooting, riding and heavy weightlifting. De Guerville noted that the development that was obtained by new recruits in only a matter of weeks was striking. This gentleman, unfortunately not named in the text, was listed as the strongest man in the school.
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).
The great German strongman Hermann Goerner was known as “Goerner The Mighty” — and for very good reason. Among his many amazing feats were a one-arm deadilift of 734.5 lbs and a “leg press” of 24 men sitting on a plank, a total weight of 4123 lbs. Above, Goerner lifts his famous challenge barbell, which was 330-3/4 lbs. and had a 2-3/8ths-inch handle.; Goerner’s challenge was to clean and jerk this unique barbell without moving the feet, something which he could do easily but which no one else was ever able to duplicate.
Karl Moerke was a German Strongman in the early 1900’s. At a bodyweight around 250 pounds at a height of only 5’2 Moerke was quite the powerhouse. He could deadlift 650 pounds, jerk 375 pounds (shown here), and had a 19-inch neck. Moerke is thought to be the first man to squat 600 pounds.
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.
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.