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Karl Hipfinger

Karl Hipfinger

Karl Hipfinger, the Austrian weightlifter and bronze medalist in the Middleweight class at the 1932 Los Angeles Olympic Games, is shown here completing what is probably a 1-arm snatch with around 145 pounds.  Not bad considering that is almost bodyweight.  

Charles Rigoulot

Charles Rigoulot

Another look at the great French champion Charles Rigoulot.  In October, of 1928, at the famed Voltaire Gymnasium, shown here, Rigoulot set two world records: a clean and jerk of 360 pounds and a snatch of 282 pounds.  Rigoulot preferred shot loaded "globe" equipment long after they were out of fashion. 

The large globes shown here pointedly maintained the same bar distance from the floor as the newly established barbell plate standard, so Rigoulot's lifts were recognized as official records. 

1915 German Weightlifting Club

1915 German Weightlifting Club

A look at a German weightlifting club, circa 1915 and a rather large selection of their truly excellent training equipment.   This club was clearly a big fan of kettlebell training.   The large, squared handles would indicate that they did a lot of kettlebell juggling.  Look close and you'll see at least one, possibly two rotating barbell sets - a rarity for the time.

Jaroslav Skobla

Jaroslav Skolba

Jaroslav Skobla, the great Czechoslovakian weightlifter, won the Gold Medal in the heavyweight class at the 1932 Olympic Summer Games in Los Angeles where his total was 380 kg:   Skobla won Bronze at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics with a 357.5 kg total. 

U.S. Naval Academy Gymnasium, circa 1899

U.S. Naval Acadey Gymnasium 1899

A look at the U.S. Naval Academy Gymnasium, circa 1899 ...Climbing ropes ...Rowing machines ...Pommel Horses ...Climbing Ladders ...Flying Rings ...Tumbling Mats ...Look closely and you'll notice that the entire back wall is covered with racks of Indian Clubs.

Ben Darwin: The Man With Iron Teeth


Ben Darwin, of Houston Texas was billed as  "The Man With Iron Teeth" due to his unique ability to bite through chains.  Mr. Darwin once helped a ship's engineer out of a difficult situation by chewing through a chain that had become tangled.  A career in Vaudeviller followed shortly.  "Iron Teeth" were not his only talent, Mr. Darwin also had unusually strong hair, and was a world speed bag punching champion.

The Human Vise: Bat Break Over Head

The Human Vise!Yes, that's a genuine Louisville Slugger. Do NOT try this one at home! Pat "The Human Vise" Povilaitis is a trained professional, plus he is a little crazy which helps with feats like this.  Needless to say, extreme levels of neck strength are also a must.

1932 Olympic Weightlifting Event Ticket Stub

Here's a true piece of Olympic Weightlifting History: a ticket stub from the lifting finals of the 1932 Summer Games held in Los Angeles, California.

If you had one of these in your back pocket on July, 31st, 1932 you would have gotten to see Raymond Suvigny of France set the Olympic record in the Featherweight class with a 287.5 kg total, the great German lifter Rudolf Ismayr take the Gold in the middleweight class with a 345.0 kg total (also an Olympic record) and Jaroslav Skobla, the Czechoslovakian champion take the Gold in the heavyweights with a 380.0 kg total
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The Springfied College Gymnasium


What's notable about this particular old gym?  Look close and you'll see a rack of Indian clubs, some light barbells and some other vintage gymnastic  equipment which makes it pretty nifty insofar as oldtime training gear goes but there is another reason that this gym stands out...

It was at this gym, at the School for Christian Workers at Springfield College. in December of 1891, where the first game of organized basketball took place.  James Naismith, under orders from Springfield's physical education director Dr. Luther Halsey Gulick, was to develop a vigorous indoor game which could keep the students in shape during the winter months.  The baskets -- actual peach baskets -- were nailed to the lower rail of the balcony, which happened to be exactly 10 feet from the floor... and the rest is history.

This picture was taken around 1887, so a few years before all the hubbub started.

 

Professor Attila's Studio of Physical Culture

Professor Attila's Studio of Physical Culture

In 1893, professor Louis Attilla opened the doors to the finest gym ever established before or since.  Behold "Professor Attila's Physical Culture Studio."  The above shot was actually the second location, Attila moved his gym in 1898 to a location on 37th street in midtown Manhattan.  Needless to say, whenever any professional strongmen performed in New York, they always made a point to stop by Attila's place.  

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