Georg Hackenschmidt

Georg Hackenschmidt

Infobox Wrestler
name=Georg Hackenschmidt
names=George Hackenschmidt

img_capt=Hackenschmidt in 1903
height= 175 cm (5 ft 9)
weight= 99 kg (218 lb)
birth_date=birth date|1878|7|20|mf=y
birth_place=Tartu, Estonia
death_date=death date|1968|2|19|mf=ycite news| title = Power Slam | work = This Month in History: February | publisher = SW Publishing | id = 55 | page = 28 | date = January 1999 | accessdate = 2007-07-14]
death_place=London, England
trainer=Georg Lurich
debut=September 1896

Georg Karl Julius Hackenschmidt (July 20 1878 - February 19 1968) was an early 20th-century strongman and professional wrestler. Nicknamed "The Russian Lion", Hackenschmidt was actually an Estonian. [Markie, Arnie. "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". pg. 340. Simon and Schuster, 2004. ISBN 0-68480-663-0]

The first widely recognized World Heavyweight Champion in wrestling history, Hackenschmidt is believed to be the creator of the professional wrestling version of the Bearhug as well as the originator of the hack squat, which is a squat-deadlift with arms behind the body.

Wrestling career

Hackenschmidt became a professional wrestler in September 1896, after being trained by fellow countryman, Georg Lurich. Hackenschmidt won the European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship from Tom Cannon on September 4, 1902 in Liverpool, England. This title gave Hackenschmidt a legitimate claim as the Undisputed World Champion of professional wrestling, a title that was cemented when Hackenschmidt defeated American Heavyweight Champion Tom Jenkins on May 4 1905 in New York, New York to become the first recognized World Heavyweight Wrestling Champion.

Hackenschmidt held the title and remained undefeated until he squared off against Frank Gotch on April 3 1908 at Chicago's Dexter Park Pavilion. Hackenschmidt was favored to win, but he submitted to Gotch after 2 grueling hours to an ankle lock submission; [ [ Professional Wrestling Online Museum - Ring Chronicle Hall of Fame Inductee - George Hackenschmidt ] ] It has been alleged that Gotch used illegal techniques in the match to defeat Hackenschmidt, which included oiling up his body, rubbing oil into Hack's eyes, scratching, gouging and hitting. At one time, Gotch also punched Hackenschmidt on the nose. [ [ George Hackenschmidt - The Russian Lion - by David Gentle ] ]

In the Lou Albano's "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Pro Wrestling", it mentions Hackenschmidt complaining that Frank Gotch had smothered himself in oil during their bouts, so that Hackenschmidt was unable to use the bearhug.

Hackenschmidt met Gotch again on September 4 1911 at the newly opened Comiskey Park in Chicago, which drew a crowd of nearly 30,000 spectators and a record gate of $87,000. The rematch is one of the most controversial and talked about matches in wrestling history, as Hackenschmidt injured his knee in a training session with Ad Santel weeks before the match, and it was later revealed that Gotch had paid off Santel to insure that Hackenschmidt was not at 100% condition for the rematch. [ [ Professional Wrestling Online Museum - Ring Chronicle Hall of Fame Inductee - George Hackenschmidt ] ] The injury was so severe that Hackenschmidt nearly withdrew from the match, but agreed to go on with the match only after Gotch had fabricated the claim that he also had an injury (his neck), but was still willing to compete regardless. [ [ George Hackenschmidt - The Russian Lion - by David Gentle ] ] Before the match, the two had allegedly agreed on Gotch winning the match, but under the condition that Gotch lost the first fall so that Hackenschmidt would look strong in defeat. Despite their agreement before the match, Gotch ended up double-crossing Hackenschmidt by quickly defeating him in two straight falls. Hackenschmidt retired shortly after, due to recurring injuries.


Hackenschmidt was also a pioneer in the field of weightlifting. He invented the exercise known as the hack squat, whose name is a reference to his own. Hackenschmidt also helped to popularize many other types of lifts common within the modern training regimen, such as the bench press. During his career, he held numerous weightlifting records, all of which have since been broken.

Hackenschmidt went on to write several books, including "Fitness and Your Self" (1937), "Consciousness and Character: True Definitions of Entity, Individuality, Personality, Nonentity" (1937), "The Way To Live In Health and Physical Fitness" (1941), and "The Three Memories and Forgetfulness: What They Are and What Their True Significance is in Human Life".

Hackenschmidt died in London in 1968. He was cremated at West Norwood Cemetery, where his memorial plaque records him as "George Hackenschmidt".Fact|date=February 2008

In wrestling

*Finishing and signature moves
**"Bear hug" – Innovated

Championships and accomplishments

*Greco-Roman wrestling
**European Greco-Roman Heavyweight Championship (1 time) (Last)
*Professional wrestling
**World Heavyweight Championship (1 time) (First)
*Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
**Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 1996)



*cite book| author = Dave Meltzer & John F. Molinaro| title = Top 100 Pro Wrestlers of all Time| year = 2002| publisher = Winding Stair Press| isbn = 1-55366-305-5

External links

* [ University of Texas Private Papers of Georg Hackenschmidt]

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