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Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Every realm of human endeavor has its outstanding exponents, and wherever the element of competition enters a champion is recognized. We have now been considering a discourse on the world's strongest man. Why not a champion for physical development? This sphere of physical culture is attractive to a greater number than excelling in strength. Of even more widespread interest would probably be the matter of deciding the champion for shapeliness or physical perfection. The ideal physique of the present day. Therefore, let us lengthen our discussion of championship for muscular development and shapeliness: the ideal types of physique, we might say.

First, suppose we consider the candidates who are most impressive in muscularity. Many points have to be taken into account. Some athletes are impressive due to massiveness alone; size alone is their fort, and in proportion to men of smaller size, they fail to measure up so well. The muscles of the giant seldom stand out as you will find them on some of the smaller men, especially athletes in the middleweight and lightweight classes. The exceptionally large man is apt to possess a light covering of adipose tissue over all his muscles, lending a smooth appearance to the muscles, and eliminating the lines of separation. Likewise, the majority of human mastodons possess muscular bulges composed of a certain amount of fat intermixed with muscle. This is, of course, true to some extent, of any athlete who is not trained down too fine; but the point we wish to bring out is that truly massive measurements must be composed of a large part of adipose tissue.

For massiveness combined with pleasing proportions, we probably must recognize the French giant, Apollon as supreme. In our estimation, though, the palm for muscular development as the eye sees it, proportions and appearance of the development, regardless of the size of the man, goes to Otto Arco, whose true name is Otto Nowoslielski. Arco, compared with all others, is honestly a man best fitted to wear the olive branch for excellence and muscular development. If ever given the opportunity to gaze upon this remarkable physique, I am sure the only point on which you may vary my opinion is that of actual size. Arco is, in street attire, a small man. Nevertheless, what does it matter if the man possesses the qualifications in development entitling him to the honors we wish to bestow.

George Hackenschmidt, among other big men, might be chose by some as a more fitting example of development. Keeping this possibility in mind, and comparing the muscles of Hackenschmidt and Arco we are sure you will be convinced as to the comparative justice of our opinion. The muscles of Hackenschmidt simply do not stand out as those of Arco, either individually, in groups, or as a whole.

Truly, the supreme example of physical perfection among modern mortals was Eugene Sandow. Very few will question this statement. Sandow was far from the strongest man, even of his time; nor did he possess the largest measurements or the most massive muscles, even for athletes of his own height; but Sandow certainly had shape, that indefinable something which pleases the eye and leads men and women alike to worship the possessor as an idol. Still, as impressive as we must concede the physique poses of Sandow to be, the writer cannot reconcile himself to the belief that Sandow excelled all other men in the effect created upon the eye of muscular impressiveness. Some of the poses of Arco, we believe, create an impression of muscularity, not even to be found in the wonderful poses of Sandow.

In deciding upon the athlete most qualified to be know as champion for shapeliness, or possessor of the most ideal physical proportions, we can refer you to another chapter, where we discourse at considerable length upon the subject of ideal proportions. We see no reason for carrying on any sort of argument at this time in support of our conclusions. The proper thing, as we see it, is to suggest that the reader carefully consider the merits of all poses. Then decide whether or not you feel inclined to agree with our opinion that Siegmund Klein should be recognized as the model of the present day, most entitled to the distinction. We have now selected three champions in physical culture; one for strength, another for development, and the third for ideal proportions.

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