6. Joe Greenstein
Another Strongman from the seemingly “golden age” of strength. Nicknamed “The Mighty Atom” Greenstein, being only 5’4″ tall, wasn’t really large in size. But once he picked up strength training, the gainz followed shortly. Joe was special because he focused on mental strength as much as physical strength.
Being of Jewish ethnicity in the late 1930s meant you weren’t having a good time. Such was the case with The Mighty Atom. One day he was walking in New York City when he saw a building with a sign that said “no dogs or Jews allowed.” Being rightfully angered by that sign, he took a ladder and tore down the sign with 20 or so Nazi supporters waiting for him to come down and explain himself. As it turned out, the building in question was a Nazi headquarters building filled with—you guessed it—Nazis.
Instead of an explanation, Joe decided to talk with his fists and beat the large group of men to a pulp. He was quickly apprehended and put in front of a judge. Upon hearing that one five-footer placed 20 men in the hospital, the judge insisted that The Mighty Atom had an accomplice…or five. Since the judge wasn’t buying the story, and there wasn’t any evidence Greenstein had an accomplice, he was released from custody.
When he got married, trouble followed. One man eyed his woman and decided that she’d make a hot widow and shot Joe straight between the eyes. Unfortunately for that man, Mighty Atom not only survived this accident but eye witness reports claim the bullet bounced of his skull and the impact simply knocked him of his feet. He was released from the hospital the same day with a kickass story to tell and a bitching headache, continuing to perform his Strongman act well into his late 80s.
7. Angus MacAskill
This Scottish-born Canadian stood 7’9″ tall and holds the record for the tallest non-pathological giant. This means his size is not a result of a pituitary gland issue or any other gigantism-related medical condition. Just like Lady Gaga, he was born this way. Because of his proportionate size he was exceptionally strong and had a naturally wide frame. He is also credited for having the largest chest measurements of any non-obese man at 80 inches. For reference sake, straight outta 2004 Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman measured a chest of 58 inches.
With such natural predispositions, MacAskill held many impressive feats of strength. He is credited for raising a 2,800 lbs ship anchor to shoulder height, easily carrying barrels full of wine under his arms and placing a 40-foot mast into a schooner deck thusly assembling a sailing boat like a giant lego toy.
His lifting career was cut short when he suffered a nasty injury. Reportedly, a bunch of French sailors were taunting him, probably saying “Monsieur, tu ne fais pas lift?” and challenged him to hoist a 2000lb anchor, a feat MacAskill did regularly without much struggle. However, this time, one of the anchor’s flukes caught got caught in his shoulder and crippled him. After the incident, he lived a normal everyday life. His death came at the hands of a severe fever that he could not shake off several years later.
8. Louis Cy
Louis is considered to be one of the strongest, if not the strongest man to have ever lived. He was born in Quebec, Canada in 1863 to a father of rather average proportions and a mother of rather large, Amazonian-esque proportions. As a young boy, he worked in a lumber camp during the winters and around the family farm during the rest of the year.
He quickly realized he was strong, stronger than any other kid his age. He then learned the story of Milo of Croton and decided to mimic Milo’s rise to incredible strength. The problem was the calf he started carrying around had other plans and hit Louis with a cheap shot dropkick to the back. Louis then improvised carrying a sack of grain a quarter of a mile a day, adding two pounds each day.
He wasted no time in getting into Strongman competition as his first challenge came when he was merely 17 years old and challenged the then-strongest man in Canada, Michaud of Quebec. Cy beat Micahaub by lifting a granite boulder weighing 480lbs. At the age of 19, he lifted a 530lbs boulder from the ground up to his shoulders. This record which lasted until 2008, when American Strongman Derek Poundstone managed to lift a replica of said boulder.
He once lifted a platform with 18 men sitting on it—which weighed 4,337 pounds—and carried it. When strength sports weren’t paying him enough, he decided to try his luck in law enforcement and became a police officer. He was already known for helping the police, so this change of vocation came as no surprise. On one occasion, he was said to have stopped a knife fight with sheer force. He was later seen making a citizen’s arrest by carrying both men-each under arm to a nearby police station.
His extreme lifestyle didn’t help his health. By the time he was in his late 40s, he was inactive but still had the eating habits of his hayday, reaching a weight of 400lbs. So it was no surprise that at the age of 49, he lost his final battle to chronic kidney inflammation.
So, there you have it. Some of the strongest men in history all under one roof.