” Apollon (strongman)
Apollon the Mighty (February 21, 1862 – 18 October 1928), born Louis Uni, was a French strongman, especially famous for his grip strength.
Louis Uni was born at eight o’clock in the morning on February 21, 1862 at no. 18 on the boulevard that today bears his name (Boulevard Louis Uni in Marsillargues) in the house his father Jean-Jacques Uni had built in 1845. ”
” APOLLON THE EMPEROR OF ATHLETES BY PROFESSOR EDMOND DESBONNET
[…] He then finished by lifting an immense pair of railroad wheels which had been connected by a bar of such thickness that very few strongmen were able to budge them off the ground. (These locomotive-car wheels weighed exactly 118 kilograms.) *3 […]
[…] One day in 1889 in Lille, Apollon competed against the strongman, Batta [pseudo. of Charles Estienne 1866-1939]. The judges who were charged with choosing the feats decided on the twobanded barbell. Apollon did not have one: what was he to do? He decided to visit a dealer in secondhand ironworks named Mr. Garde on the Boulevard des Écoles, and there he found two train-car wheels attached to an enormous axle which was much too thick even for the bands of Batta. All told it weighed exactly 118 kilos, and the strongman paid ten centimes per kilo for this contraption. Among all of Mr. Garde’s employees, even those who were used to handling the heaviest loads, no one could pick up the 118-kilo makeshift barbell, including the great Edgard, one of the workers who wielded a sledge hammer; this huge man who measured one meter eighty-six in height had been hired specifically for his extraordinary strength. Apollon took the axle and tested it to see if it felt good in his hands. When he was satisfied, Apollon announced to the manager, “Take this to the Théâtre des Variétés. It’ll do.” First off that evening Apollon lifted the train wheels as if he were merely raising his cane. In his match with Apollon, Batta could only get the famous axle to his shoulders, resting it lightly on his chest for a moment — this despite the man’s legendary grip strength. Apollon, however, had lifted the device like a feather. […]
*3 Probably no other piece of lifting equipment has fostered so many articles or so much speculation as Apollon’s railroad axle. The best account is: Joe Roark, Musclesearch 20 (August/September 1988) ”