Body Building

Eugen Sandow

Well we’ve seen for years Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone probably the best know body builders but the very first body building competition was held in the year of Queen Victoria’s demise in 1901.

The Royal Albert Hall was the venue and was plunged into darkness, spotlights picking out the 80 or so competitors in their body hugging tights and leopardskin leotards as they made their way to the stage, flexing their well-developed muscles.

Judging was one Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle, creator of the master detective who had become a close friend Eugen Sandow, the world-famous strongman and music-hall performer who provided personal fitness coaching from his Institute of Physical Culture at 33a St James’s Street, in the heart of London’s fashionable clubland.

Conan Doyle had been following Sandow’s training for a few years when his car snagged a gatepost and ran up a high bank and overturned pinning him beneath it.

Conan-Doyle managed to take the weight of the car on his back, reportedly one ton and put this down to Sandow’s training with whom he had become friends at the Albert hall display of muscles.


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