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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:
- One-handed block weight deadlift of 333 kg (734.5 lb) on July 20, 1920 Dresden, Germany
- One-handed deadlift 330 kg (727.5 lb), October 8, 1920, Leipzig, Germany
- Deadlift 270 kg (595.5 lb) using just two fingers of each hand, normal and reverse grip was used, November 30, 1933, Leipzig, Germany.
- Pinch lift 50 kg (111 lb), July 10, 1934, Leipzig, Germany.
- Leg pressing 24 men, total weight 1870 kg (4,123 lb), on a plank with the soles of his feet, 1921.
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.
- Goerner the Mighty], Edgar Mueller, Vulcan Publishing, Leeds, 1951