John Lemm, Wrestler from Switzerland
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From “Mighty Men of Old” Vol. I (n.d.) (Author unknown)
of the old time wrestlers took to weight lifting to build up their
strength while some of the lifters took to wrestling to demonstrate
their strength against another man. John Lemm of Switzerland was one of
the latter but he took his wrestling seriously enough to become European
Greco-Roman heavyweight champion. He was one of the first men to
deep-knee bend with over 500 pounds. His record of 517 stood for nearly
20 years until Strassberger of Germany eclipsed it with a mark of 550.
Lemm was posted as the “Swiss Mountaineer” or the “Swiss
Mountain Climber” as a publicity stunt to draw larger crowds to his
wrestling marches. Switzerland, though a small country, has produced
some remarkable men of might notably Lemm, Hunnenberger (World’s record
one hand clean and jerk), Aeschamm, Graf (former Olympic featherweight
champion 1920), Rosinek and the Deriaz brothers.
No one country
has ever held a monopoly on weightlifting records for long except
perhaps Germany, where the sport originated. The Italians began to take
records and titles away from the Germans which they in turn lost to the
Swiss. Some time later practically all records were held by the French
then back to Germany again until at the ’36 Olympics when suddenly
Egyptian names filled the iron roster. Today, while the Sons of the
Prophet still hold most of the records, America is slipping in and in a
few years, we should hold them all.
©Mighty Men of Old
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