George Hackenschmidt, The Russian Lion,” was a bodybuilder and championship wrestler around the turn of the century..
George Hackenschmidt started his career in the late 1890s and quickly became a major wrestling celebrity in Europe..
November 1901: George won the European version of the World Heavyweight championship in Vienna defeating Ahmed Madrali..
Early 1902: George Hackenschmidt won the European Greco Roman Heavyweight title..
George Hackenschmidt held both European titles for 3 years..
May 4, 1905: George Hackenschmidt defeated Tom Jenkins in New York City to win the American Heavyweight title..
This solidified George Hackenschmidt as the true owner of the unified, undisputed World Championship..
All three titles were declared vacant, and Hackenschmidt was recognized as the original World Heavyweight Wrestling champion..
George’s first encounter with Frank Gotch occured at the Dexter Park Pavilion on Chicago’s south side..
~~~It was an epic struggle that lasted over 2 1/2 hours which saw George submit to Gotch’s anklelock..
~~~After the match, George Hackenschmidt accused Gotch of using “unscrupulous methods” and challenged him to a rematch..
Labor Day 1908: The rematch happened at the brand-new Commisky Park in Chicago and drew well over 30,000 fans for a record..
~~~George lost again, primarily because Gotch had paid off the legendary hooker Ad Santel to make sure George was not at 100%..
~~~Santel did just that, by seriously injuring Hackenschmidt’s knee during what was intended to be a simple training session.
Grorge Hackenschmidt was eventually defeated in 1908 by Frank Gotch, whom some consider to be a “dirty wrestler.”
George Hackenschmidt was also an author, who wrote a combination training manual and biography called “The Way to Live.”
~~~It was first published in 1908 and by 1940 there were 21 editions..
~~~It was was considered to be one of the largest selling books on physical culture ever..
George Hackenschmidt’s marathon battles with Frank Gotch over the World Heavyweight title were legendary..
George Hackenschmidt was known to perform elaborate exhibitions of strength before his matches..
February 19, 1968: George Hackenschmidt passed away in England at the age of 90 of natural causes..