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Hermann Görner, (April 13, 1891 – June 29, 1956) was a famous German strongman. Görner performed in various countries and achieved feats of strength rarely matched to this day, most notably in lifts requiring exceptional gripping strength.
Görner was born in Hänichen, Saxony, Germany. He started lifting weights at the age of 10 and was able to perform a one-handed swing of 50 kg (110.25 lb) by the age of 14. Hermann was a good all round athlete with a powerful physique and worked at various times as a model for painters and sculptors. He was 185 cm (6-1) in height and weighed between 120 and 133 kg (264 and 293 lb) during his career.
From 1911 he competed in various weightlifting tournaments and placed fourth in the 1913 Weightlifting World Championships.
Professional strong man
Despite being injured by shrapnel and losing an eye during World War One, Görner continued his career to become a professional strong man in 1921, touring countries such as Germany, Britain and South Africa.
His act included wrestling with a 680 kg (1,500 lb) elephant and challenging any member of the audience to lift the 150 kg (330 lb) barbell with 7 cm (2.4 in) shaft which he had just raised above his head. Hermann and his wife Elsie stayed with the famous Pullum family while touring with their strength act and Hermann was known to be a witty and very personable individual whose bravery matched his physical strength.
Feats of Strength
Among Hermann Görner's many feats of strength were the following notable lifts:
- Deadlift - 360 kg (793.6 lb) with overhand hook grip. 380 kg (837.7 lb) with mixed grip.
- One-handed block deadlift - 333 kg (734.5 lb) on 20 July 1920 Dresden, Germany
- One-handed deadlift - 330 kg (727.5 lb) on 8 October 1920, Leipzig, Germany
- One-handed deadlift - 301 kg (663.5 lb) on 29 October 1920 for which he won a Guiness World Record
- Deadlift - 270 kg (595.5 lb) using just two fingers of each hand, normal and reverse grip was used, on 30 November 1933, Leipzig, Germany.
- Deadlift - Among Görner's best deadlifts was a lift of 830 lbs (376.5 kg), rather unorthodox insofar as the makeup of the weight lifted was concerned, it was done in the following manner. Goerner took a bar weighing 441 lb (200 kg), had two men stand, one on each end of the bar, then deadlifted it to full competition height and held it for several seconds to the satisfaction of the judges. Görner was 42 years old at the time.
- Pinch lift - 50 kg (111 lb) on 10 July 1934, Leipzig, Germany.
- Leg pressing 24 men, total weight 1870 kg (4,123 lb), on a plank with the soles of his feet, 1921.
- At Dresden on 25 July 1920, Görner lifted the enormous weight of 430 lb. (a little more than 195 kg) overhead in the Two Hands ‘Anyhow’ style, performing the feat with four kettleweights in the following manner. He first swung with the right hand to arms length, two kettleweights, one weighing 110¼ lb (50 kg). and the other 99¼ lb (45 kg). Still holding the bells overhead, he then bent down and picked up with the left hand a third kettleweight weighing 110¼ lb. (50 kg), which he then swung to arms length and transferred to the thumb of the right hand. Then, still holding the three kettleweights overhead in his right hand, he lowered his body carefully and with the left hand picked up the fourth kettleweight, which he slowly swung to arms length. The combined weight then held overhead for the referee’s court was, as has been stated, no less than 430 English pounds, or 195.5 kilograms.
Goerner The Mighty
Görner's life is documented in a 1951 book by Ed Müller, Goerner The Mighty.
A hand injury from a fall in 1929 somewhat curtailed his career in favour of training rather than lifting, but Görner continued to lift until World War Two. After the war he was for a time held in a Soviet run P.O.W camp, but settled later in a village near Hanover with his beloved wife Elsie, who died in 1949. Hermann was regularly visited by admirers at his small apartment and, despite the setbacks of losing his wife and war wounds, lived to the age of 65 before passing away in 1956.
- Webster, David B. 1976. The Iron Game Irvine Press.
- Heaviest right hand deadlift - bar
Hermann Goerner unofficially lifted a 330 kg (727.5 lb) bar with his right hand on 8 October 1920 at Leipzig, Germany. The bar was correctly lifted from the floor to the fully erect position.
He officially performed a right-handed deadlift of 301 kg (663½ lb) on 29 October 1920 also at Leipzig using a Berg Olympic revolving bar.
- Goerner the Mighty], Edgar Mueller, Vulcan Publishing, Leeds, 1951