The Dammarie-les-Lys Weightlifting Club, 1906

Posted on Thursday, November 2nd, 2017 by John Wood
A look at the Dammarie-les-Lys Weightlifting Club and their awesome training equipment, circa 1906. (Dammarie-les-Lys is a suburb of Paris) Note the chest expander, and ring weights and, of course, an excellent selection of globe barbells and dumbbells. The president of the club, M. Gustave Dechelpretre, sits front row center holding the sign.

Charles Rigoulot’s One-Arm Snatch

Posted on Sunday, October 22nd, 2017 by John Wood
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 .
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 Apollon Wheels Arrive

Posted on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014 by John Wood

It is fairly common knowledge that on March 3, 1930 Charles Rigoulot attempted, (and of course, subsequently lifted) the famed rail car wheels of Apollon. You probably haven’t seen this one though: on the morning of the attempt, the wheels were delivered to the Voltaire Gymnasium from the museum where it normally resided. Here’s a rare shot of the crew of workmen getting the wheels off the truck and they sure don’t look too thrilled about it… Look closely and you’ll see that they delivered more than the wheels that day.

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.

Andre LaFeuille, The Piano Man

Posted on Saturday, November 29th, 2014 by John Wood

Over half a century before Billy Joel’s hit tune, the original “Piano Man” was Andre LaFeuille of Paris, France. He was a dock worker who became the toast of the town because of his unique ability to…(wait for it)…lift pianos. On August 27th, 1920, LaFeuille (back)lifted four of them, totaling over 3000 pounds, a record 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.

On a Paris Sidewalk…

Posted on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 by John Wood

Performing strongmen used to be a common sight in many big cities. Here’s a rare shot from a Paris sidewalk of a strongman having a few onlookers lift a globe barbell to his shoulders so he can walk with it, circa 1950. Look closely and you’ll notice there’s four additional french block weights tied to the bar. His other outstanding equipment: a few globe dumbbells, a few globe barbells, more blockweights and even a baltass all sit in the foreground.
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.

Karl Abs at The Winter Circus

Posted on Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by John Wood

Karl Abs at The Winter Circus

Here’s an extremely rare poster from the late 1880’s, when Karl Abs was the featured attraction at the Cirque d’ Hiver (Winter Circus) exhibition hall in Paris, France. Each night, Abs harness-lifted a horse and challenged all comers in the wrestling ring, (among other feats.) It’s pretty awesome that the Cirque d’ Hiver, which opened in 1852, is actually still going strong to this day.

Barrel Rolling

Posted on Monday, June 3rd, 2013 by John Wood
Barrel Rolling
Here’s a sport you don’t see these days, at least not around these parts: Barrel Rolling. Many competitive events started off as “work” and this is a perfect example. Long before mechanical machinery, heavy lifting had to be done by hand and in the vineyards of France, the quickest way to move a wine barrel from here to there was to roll it on its edge. Well, as these things often go, one fine day, one gentleman said that he could roll a barrel farther and faster than all his friends and soon it turned into a full-fledged contest. It became very popular, so much so that the different areas of France had their own tournaments culminating with the championship held in Paris.

It takes strength as well as dexterity to keep a rolling barrel under control and moving in a straight line. The champions of this sport could keep their barrel moving while at a full sprint. Some places in France still have these contests.

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.

Alfred Decottignies

Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2013 by John Wood

Alfred Decottignies

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.

John Davis

Posted on Wednesday, December 19th, 2012 by John Wood

John Davis

Ironically, American weightlifting champions often got more recognition from the international media than they did back home. Here”s John Davis, pictured on the cover of a French Sporting magazine in 1950 on his way to winning the heavyweight class the 1950 World Championship in Paris, France. By the weight on the bar, this appears to be Davis’ winning snatch lift of 147.5 kg.

1924 Olympic Globe Barbells

Posted on Saturday, November 3rd, 2012 by John Wood

1924 Olympic Globe Barbells

In the early Olympic games, the athletes had the choice of using plate-loaded barbells or shot-loaded globe barbells. Shown here is the selection of weights for the 1924 Olympic games in Paris, France, the last time that this choice was available.  The great French champion Charles Rigoulot won the Gold medal in the heavyweight class, and, interestingly, was the only lifter who chose to compete with the shot loaded globe barbells.