- 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..