Home » sports » World’s strongest men

World’s strongest men

On Tuesday 13 February 1923, in a strong man contest held before a packed house in City Hall in Augusta, Maine, John B Gagnon beat Warren L Travis of Brooklyn, NY – holder of the official title of World’s Strongest Man. In 10 lifts, taking only 25 minutes, Gagnon lifted a total of 7,552 kg (16,650 pounds). Because it was not an “officially sanctioned” match, Travis was able to retain the title; he also would not schedule a return match against Gagnon.

John B Gagnon (1883-1939) was born in Caribou, Maine. He was 5′ 10” tall, and weighed 230 pounds. He could tear a horseshoe apart with his bare hands; bend a railroad spike into a U; pick up 794 pounds with one finger. The only man to do more weight than John B Gagnon in a back lift is the late great Paul Anderson, who held the World Guinness Record of 6,270 pounds.

John B Gagnon’s recorded lifts, all accomplished in 25 minutes:

Finger lift………………………………………….794 pounds
One-hand lift……………………………………..1,111 pounds
Two-hand lift……………………………………..1,575 pounds
Two-hand & knees lift………………………….2,195 pounds
Neck lift…………………………………………..1,317 pounds
Harness lift……………………………………….2,689 pounds
Teeth lift…………………………………………..627 pounds
One-arm lift………………………………………924 pounds
Two-arm lift………………………………………1,248 pounds
Back lift (persons on platform)………………4,170 pounds

TOTAL WEIGHT LIFTED…………..16,650 lbs. . .in 25 minutes

The Strongest Man Alive organizers believe the strongman title should go to John Wooten of Massachusetts. At 51 years old, he had towed a Mississippi river boat against the current, piggybacked an elephant, stopped two jet planes from taking off by holding them down, and pulled a 280-ton train along a track. John Wooten is 1,86 m (6’1″) tall and weighs 132 kg (290 lb). He got his start in the strongman business in 1969 when he happened to meet a 79 kg (175 lb) man in his 70s who could bend 60-penny railroad spikes in his bare hands and taught him how to back-lift elephants.

Modern strong man legends

One of the most popular strongmen of all time is Jouko Ahola of Finland. Named the strongest man in the world in 1997 and 1999, he held the record for lifting the heaviest stone: the stone weighed 215 kg (414 lb). The 1,85 m (6 ft) tall Jouko also was the world’s car-carrying champion.

Modern-day strongman legend Mariusz Pudzianowski from Poland has won more World’s Strongest Man competitions than anyone else, taking the title a record fifth time in 2008.

Story contribution by Philip L. Gagnon, Sr.

More strongest men

“Louis Cyr, French-Canadian born in the Province of Québec in 1868 was stronger than Gagnon, 5′ 11” / 315 pounds: his back lift reccord was 4 335 pounds, two hands record was 1885 pounds. The best was Victor Delamarre, born in Prov of Quebec in 1888, weight 160 pounds (only) 5’7”, back lift almost 7 000 pounds ( 30 man, average 230 pounds), more than Cyr and Paul Anderson and Hector Decarie. Decarie a French Canadian 5′ 7” 180 pounds, born in 1880 back lift 3 885 and 4 269 pounds and bent press 317 pounds.”

“Gagnon was an amazing strong man but not the best of his time, the special one was Victor Delamare who bent press 309 pound in 1914.”  – as per comment by charlesfelixvalois, 9/30/2010.

You may also like -