Born in Scotland in 1874, Launceston Elliot is perhaps more famous for his contributions to the world of weightlifting than bodybuilding. His fame in the weightlifting community, as readers of this blog will be aware, came from his gold weightlifting medal at the 1896 Athens Olympics. Similarly the course of his athletic career saw the powerful Scotsman set and break, a number of weightlifting records.
Nevertheless, Elliot’s achievements were far reaching as he appears to have been the first man to win a physique contest in Great Britain. While much has been made of Sandow’s Great Competition (1901) and its role in furthering bodybuilding’s status amongst the general public, it is arguable that without Elliot’s precedent, Sandow’s idea may never have come to the fore.