Louis Cyr

Strongest man in the world at the turn of the last century

Louis Cyr
ca. 1892, England
National Archives of Canada

Born: 11 October 1863 in St. Cyprien de Napierville, Quebec
Died: 10 November 1912

Louis Cyr was in his first strongman competition at the age of 17, when he faced Michaud of Quebec. The young man defeated the reigning Canadian strongman by lifting a granite boulder weighing over 400 pounds. After spending some time as a lumberjack, Cyr became a professional strongman, touring all over the United States and Europe.

At the height of his career, Cyr stood only 5'10" tall but he weighed over 300 pounds and had a 60" chest when it was expanded (55.2" normally). Several of his weightlifting feats and strongman stunts have been exaggerated over the years but some were documented and are still considered impressive today. Examples: he back-lifted a platform holding eighteen men; he lifted 553 pounds off the floor with one finger; he pushed a freight car up an incline.

One of Cyr's most-talked about stunts occured on 10 December 1891 in Montreal. Four horses were tied to his arms (two on each side) and, while the grooms whipped and urged the horses to pull, Cyr managed to restrain all of them.

Louis Cyr died in 1912 and many say he ate himself to death. The official cause, however, was listed as chronic nephritis.

Suggested reading:

The Strongest Man in History: Louis Cyr, Amazing Canadian by Ben Weider Amazon.ca


By Name · C
By Province · Quebec
By Claim to Fame · Sports

Added 22 April 2002.