I’ve spoken in previous blog posts about the celebrated French-Canadian strongman Louis Cyr, so I thought I would provide some more information* about him. His life was fascinating.
Born Cyrien-Noe Cyr on October 10, 1864, in Saint-Cyprien-de-Napierville, Quebec, Cyr began showing his great strength at an early age. When he was 12, he began working in lumber camps during the winter and on his family’s farm throughout the rest of the year, impressing people with his feats of strength.
His strongman career began in earnest when he was 17, when he is reported to have lifted a farmer’s heavy wagon when it became stuck in a mire. Cyr weighed 230 lbs and stood 5 feet, 8.5 inches.
He also competed against Canada’s strongest man at the time, Michaud of Quebec, in lifting heavy stones, and won by lifting a stone that weighed 480 lbs.
In 1878, the Cyr family immigrated to Massachusetts. That was also the year when Cyr changed his name to Louis, because it was easier for Anglophones to pronounce.
When he was 18, he entered his first strongman contest in Boston, lifting a horse off the ground.
Cyr worked as a police officer in Montreal from 1883 to 1885, and married a woman named Melina Courtois in 1884. He joined the police force after breaking up a dangerous knife fight and carrying the men, one under each arm, to the police station.
He continued to perform many feats of strength, including lifting a 534-lb weight with one finger, pushing a freight car up an incline, and lifting a platform with 18 men on it on his back – a total weight of 4,327 lbs.
He performed far too many impressive feats to list here, but those are some notable ones.
At his heaviest, Cyr weighed 400 lbs, although he usually competed at around 320 lbs. Interestingly, his wife Melina never weighed more than 100 lbs.
Cyr died November 10, 1912, at the age of 50. He gave his name to the oversized dumbbells he favoured and is considered by many to be The Strongest Man Who Ever Lived.
*The information in this post was found on Wikipedia.