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RAISE THE BAR

Fancy yourself as a big man in the weights room? Whatever you can lift, you're trumped by famous Frenchman Louis Uni, aka Apollon the Mighty. Born in France in 1862, like many strong men of the time, he was linked to the circus. ‘Escaping Prisoner’ was a trademark stunt where he bent iron bars to escape from a cage. He had a habit of one-upmanship, snatching ridiculously heavy barbells above his head when previously they had only been clean and jerked. His career nearly came to an end in 1913 while trying to hold back the approach of two cars, bursting blood vessels and tearing muscles in his arm. But his most impressive stunt was the one-handed barbell snatch. Clear the gym before trying that one.

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