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Getting The Facts Correct


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After reading the response to a post in which Roark explains where he gets his sources and his fact checking ability - I myself came across a doozy.  I happen to read a lot (strength and physical culture stuff), and was reading Alan Calvert's book, "The Truth About Weightlifting".

On page 81, he talks about who is the strongest man in the world.  He says most people would probably say Eugene Sandow (remember, this book was written in 1911).  Then he says, and I quote verbatim:

"The reader may be surprised to learn that Sandow is not now, nor has he ever been, the strongest man in the world. ...... If you will write to the leading sporting paper in this country and ask, you will be told that Louis Cyr is the man.  They are evidently not aware of the fact that Cyr died two or three years ago."

Hold up, Mr. Calvert.  Cyr died in October, 1912 - and the book was published in 1911.  Oops!!  :p  :p  :p  

Another blunder:  he states that Cyr is an American.  Wrong again, he was a Canadian.  Still.... the book is a great read.

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Although Eugen Sandow, very briefly while in England, went

by the name Eugene Sandow, it is better to refer to him as

Eugen. But David Chapman who has written, in my opinion

the definitive book on Sandow, told me that Eugen did

use Eugene briefly. Until David told me this, I had never

heard of it.

Louis Cyr was born on either Oct 10 or 11, 1863- I have

read 'proof' both ways??? Anyway he died Nov 10, 1912.

Certainly it is correct that Sandow was not anywhere near

to being the strongest man in any of several countries, let

alone in the world. He was a showman.

Sybersnott, it only gets better when reading and comparing

about the history of strength- but hey! It's fun!

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Calvert refered to Sandow as more of a "showman" than a "strongman".  He said that most of his act was of the "supporting" lifts kind, and not so much strength lifting.

Personally.... from what I've read about Sandow, I don't think very highly of him.  He was more fluff than substance, and was not nearly as great as most of the other strongmen of that era.  The lawsuit he brought against Saxon proves my point - you beat your opponent on stage NOT in the courtroom.  There's a website that hails Sandow as the ultimate strongman/showman - they couldn't get it more wrong.  Too bad.

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I've never read that Cyr's birthday was Oct 10, I've only read that it was Oct 11. I kind of want it to be Oct 11 because that's my birthday 117 years earlier. I'm also not too impressed with Sandow. I haven't read much compared to some guys but even I think he was all bark & no bite.

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In IRON GAME HISTORY, April 1990, David Norwood

concludes that Cyr's birthdate was Oct 10, which he

mentions is the generally accepted correct date and

is the date Gerald Aumont, Cyr's grandson, offers.

Others offer Oct 11. I have not looked into the matter

enough to take a side. I would suggest one point, though:

If an author is not astute enough to know that a calf

measurement of 28" is not accurate (that is a good thigh

measurement even in these days) then perhaps he has not

examined other aspects of Cyr's life either. Perhaps. I

refer of course to Jowett's text, and Jowett asserts that

Oct 11th is the correct date of birth for Cyr...Perhaps it was

a simple typo...But Willoughby also offers Oct 11th, and

whereas Jowett's research was no where near the same

level's as Willoughby's one wonders what the correct date


Anyway, I have never seen a photo of Cyr's gravestone-

wonder if it has a date?

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Cyr's gravestone just says "Cyr", and doesn't have any dates on it.  I've seen the picture of it, and you would think that he would have a better gravestone than that.

Maybe if someone who lives in the Montreal Quebec (that's where he's buried, right?) area could get over there and take a pic of it, and post it here.

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