An extremely rare picture of the great Estonian wrestler Alexander Aberg who was also Georg Lurich’s brother-in-law. On his way to the World Wrestling Championship in 1915, Aberg defeated the likes of Dr. Benjamin Roller (of America), Wladek Zbyszko (of Poland), Pierre La Colosse (of France), Harry De Nys (of Belgium) Leo Pardell (of Italy), Sulo Hevonpaa (of Finland) and Johan Tigane (of Mongolia).
Born in a small village near Moscow Ivan Shemyakin ran off to join the circus when he was fifteen years of age to become a strongman and wrestler. He was quite skilled in both areas, winning the kettlebell lifting championship of Russia in 1899 and a World Championship in wrestling in 1913.
Ivan Poddubny was one of the greatest of the Russian Strongman /Wrestlers (of which there were many). He was born in a small village and worked hard jobs even from a young age.
After some training, he joined the Russian circus, performing feats of strength and wrestling all comers. The sash he is wearing in this picture is most likely from the 1908 World Championship, which he won by defeating his friend Ivan Zaikin. This was his fifth World Championship title. Even to this day, Poddubny is still a well-known sports hero in Russia and several big wrestling tournaments bare his name.