Friday, August 30, 2013

Strong Women in History: Ivy Russel

Ivy RusselIvy Elizabeth Russel was born in 1907 in Surrey, England. In school she practiced swimming and gymnastics and was 12 when she became a member of a local gymnastic club. Ivy Russell began training with weight at age fourteen to cure her tuberculosis. She not only got well, she got exceptionally strong. Over the next twenty years, she gave numerous exhibitions in the British Isles, making best lifts of 193 pounds in the clean and jerk and 410.5 pounds in the dead lift. She worked in strength demonstrations, like lifting and maintaining several persons. Later, she opened a small gym in Croydon, England.

In 1934, Ivy began attending the “Victory Ladies Wrestling Club” for training in wrestling, and in a year she earned the female wrestling championship title. She also successfully lobbied the British Amateur Weightlifting Association to admit women as full members and to sanction contests for women.

The media became captivated by her physique, strength and athleticism. Her physical parameters were higher than most strong man. Her biceps, calf and thighs were the same or exceeded the size of the most famous heavyweight boxers of her time. Her relatively small stature and extreme muscularity were antithetical to many people’s conception of a “strongwoman” but many admired her.

Ivy Russel

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