“The Strongest Man that Ever Lived” can be applied to only one man. That one man was Louis Cyr, born the 11th of October, 1863 in the village of St. Cyprien, Quebec, whose prodigious strength was never exceeded by any human being!
Born to a rugged country where might of muscle is worshipped, mighty Louis name became a byword for strength throughout the world. No man ever beat Louis Cyr at lifting weights. There was only one Louis Cyr and the world will never again see his like.
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 occurred 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.
Writings Available in the HOPC Library
LOUIS CYR, STRONGEST MAN WHO EVER LIVED BY DAVID GENTLE
Enjoy this fascinating account of the life and times of Louis Cyr by Historian David Gentle. “Louis Cyr (pronounced seer) was born on October 11th, 1863 in St. Cyprien, near Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Coming from a robust French-Canadian family, developing extraordinary strength, when even at an early age.”
THE STRONGEST MAN THAT EVER LIVED BY GEORGE F. JOWETT
Published in 1927
“When I ponder over the characteristics of Louis Cyr, I realize how humble one so great can be before God and man and yet so exalted. Then I find more depth in Gray’s “Elegy” and eulogy to man. Much confusion surrounds the exact birthplace of the nineteenth century Samson. I have seen no less than five different spots claimed as the cradle of “Our Louis.” He first saw the light of day on the eleventh of October, 1863, in the little village of St. Cyprien, Quebec, and was born of parents who had been tillers of the soil and hardy woodsmen for generations.” – George F. Jowett