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Charles Jean Rigoulot (3 November 1903 – 22 August 1962) was a French weightlifter, professional wrestler, racing driver, and actor.

Charles Rigoulot
Charles Rigoulot 1923.jpg
Charles Rigoulot in 1923
Personal information
Born3 November 1903
Le Vésinet, France
Died22 August 1962(1962-08-22) (aged 58)
Paris, France
Height1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
Weight82 kg (181 lb)
Charles Rigoulot
Nationality French
24 Hours of Le Mans career
TeamsYves Giraud-Cabantous
Best finishDNF (1937)
Class wins0



Rigoulot was born in Le Vesinet, France and began to train with weights as a child.[1] He was observed by weight trainer Jean Dame lifting heavy lithograph stones when Rigoulot was 16-years-old and Dame began to train and coach the teenager.[2] During World War II he was imprisoned after hitting a Nazi officer.

Weightlifting and strongman careerEdit

As a weightlifter he won the gold medal in the 82.5 kg division at the 1924 Summer Olympics. Between 1923 and 1926 he set eight official world records.[3] In 1924, he became the first person to clean and jerk more than 400 pounds, using the non-revolving barbells of that time. In 1928 he set two World Records; a clean and jerk of 360 lbs and a snatch of 282 lbs.[1] In 1930, he became the first person to complete an overhead lift of the Apollon Railway Car Wheels, an awkwardly-shaped 166 kg (366 lb) barbell-shaped set of train wheels used by the stage strongman Louis Uni, and the predecessor of "Apollon's Axle".[4]

In 1932 Rigoulot turned professional and worked as a strongman in the circus, an actor and singer in the theater.[4] As a professional wrestler he was billed as "l'homme le plus fort dans le monde" ("the strongest man in the world") and had matches with Henri DeGlane and Strangler Lewis.

Motorsports career resultsEdit

As a driver, he competed in the 1937 Le Mans race.

24 Hours of Le Mans resultsEdit

Later lifeEdit

In 1953 he became sports director at the Cognac Distillery Ricard, he died of heart attack in 1962. His daughter Dany Rigoulot became an Olympic figure skater.[4]


  1. ^ a b Hamilton, E.L. (19 April 2018). "A French Olympic gold-medal-winning weightlifter used his strength to bend the bars of his cell and escape the Nazis". The Vintage News. Retrieved 13 July 2019.
  2. ^ Phillips, Ellen (1996). VIII Olympiad: Paris 1924 St. Moritz 1928 (Olympic Century). Firefly Books. ISBN 978-1888383089.
  3. ^ Charles Rigoulot.
  4. ^ a b c Charles Rigoulot.

External linksEdit