“Louis Cyr (born Cyprien-Noé Cyr, 11 October 1863 – 10 November 1912) was a famous French-Canadian strongman, with a career spanning the late 19th and early 20th centuries. “His recorded feats, including lifting 500 pounds (227 kg) with one finger and backlifting 4,337 pounds (1,967 kg), show Cyr to be — according to former ‘International Federation of Body Building & Fitness’ chairman Ben Weider — the strongest man ever to have lived.
“Cyr was born in Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, Quebec, Canada. From the age of twelve, Cyr worked in a lumber camp during the winters and on the family’s farm the rest of the year. Discovering his exceptional strength at a very young age, he impressed his fellow workers with his feats of strength.
“After learning of the tale, Cyr attempted to mimic the practice of legendary strongman Milo of Croton, who as a child carried a calf on his shoulders, continuing to carry it as it grew into a full-grown bull and he into a grown man. Cyr’s calf, however, bolted one day, kicking him in his back, after which he instead began carrying a sack of grain 1⁄4 mile (0.40 km) every day, adding 2 pounds (0.91 kg) each day. “In 1878, the Cyr family immigrated to Lowell, Massachusetts in the United States…
At seventeen, he weighed 230 pounds (104 kg). He entered his first strongman contest in Boston at age eighteen, lifting a horse off the ground; the fully-grown male horse was placed on a platform with 2 iron bars attached, enabling Cyr to obtain a better grip. The horse weighed at least 3⁄4 short tons (0.68 t).
“While several of Cyr’s feats of strength may have been exaggerated over the years, some were documented and remain impressive. These included:
–lifting a platform on his back holding 18 men, for a total of 1,976 kg;
–lifting a 534-pound (242 kg) weight with one finger;
–pushing a freight car up an incline. “At 19 years old, he lifted a rock, officially weighted at 514 pounds, from ground up to his shoulder.
“He beat Eugen Sandow’s bent press record (and therefore the heaviest weight lifted with one hand) by 2 pounds (0.91 kg), to a total of 273 pounds (124 kg).
“Perhaps his greatest feat occurred in 1895, when he was reported to have lifted 4,337 pounds (1,967 kg) on his back in Boston, by putting 18 men on a platform and lifting them. “One of his most memorable displays of strength occurred in Montreal on October 12, 1891. Louis resisted the pull of four draught horses (two in each hand) as grooms stood cracking their whips to get the horses to pull harder, a feat he again demonstrated in Bytown (now Ottawa), with Queen Victoria’s team of draught horses during her ‘Royal’ visit…
“Both the ‘Parc Louis-Cyr’ and the ‘Place des Hommes-Forts’ (“Strongmen’s Square”) are named after him. Statues of him are located at Place des Hommes-Forts and the ‘Musée de la Civilisation’ in Quebec City. The high school in his hometown of Napierville is also named after him. “At his peak, Louis was 5 feet/10 inches (178 cm) in height and weighed 310 pounds (140 kg), with a 21-inch (53 cm) neck, a 54-inch (140 cm) chest, a 45-inch (110 cm) waist, 22-inch (56 cm) biceps, 19-inch (48 cm) forearms, 11-inch (28 cm) wrists, 33-inch (84 cm) thighs, 23-inch (58 cm) calves.
“In “The Strongest Man in History”, Ben Weider says that Cyr’s records remain “uncontested and incontestable.”
— ‘Louis Cyr…The strongest man in the world!’
March 17, 2015
https://interestingcanadianhistory.wordpress.com/2015/03/17/louis-cyr/“…From his early years, it was clear that Louis had exceptional strength that he apparently got from his paternal grandfather named Pierre Cyr, who was a trapper and a hunter. Louis also got some strongman genes from his mother, who was a woman of great physical stature and ability…
“Louis Cyr’s strongman career began when he was seventeen years old. In Quebec, Louis faced up against fellow Canadian strongman David Michand, who was at the time known to be Canada’s strongest man. Louis managed to beat Michand in a test of stone lifting, building up his strong man reputation.
“In the year 1882, Louis married in Quebec and found work as a lumberjack. At the camp where he worked, he entertained crowds with one demonstration after the other…
“After some time, a man by the name of MacSohmer presented Louis with the opportunity to tour the Quebec and Maritime provinces, performing and challenging other strong men. The tour only lasted for a few months and was not profitable to Louis.
“After the failure of the tour, Louis went back to his parents and pleaded with his father to take hold of his career. His father accepted and started the ‘Troup Cyr’, which became a big success, as Louis was a natural showman. “Louis toured Canada and the United States between 1888 and 1892, when he and his fellow strongman Horace Barré returned to Canada and signed a one-year contract with ‘Ringling Brothers’. In 1894, the two started their own circus that was inclusive of jugglers, athletes, acrobats and strongmen. They performed for five years in Canada and the U.S….
“In 1900, Louis’ health deteriorated and ‘Bright’s disease’ put a stop to his strongman career. Louis died at his daughter’s home in Montreal on November 12th 1912, at the age of 49, and was laid to rest in the town Saint-Jean-de-Matha…”
–‘Louis Cyr: The Strongest Man In The World’,
Muscle Old School