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European Corner: Grigori Novak – Iron Game History – April 1992

Many areas of the former Soviet Union, with all its ethnic categories, were dedicated to strength athletics. It is therefore not surprising that the areas enjoy a folklore rich in tales of peasant strength. One of these concerns Petr Gorodets, a rural worker in the village of Rublov, near Moscow. A man of enormous power, Petr would entertain his friends with various interesting feats. The most popular of these was done when he would fasten straps round a large log, hold a mouth-piece (attached to the straps) in his teeth, lift the tree trunk and then spin with it until it rose sideways as he spun round and round. Gorodets’ fame spread throughout the land in 1634 and he was called to give a command performance for his sovereign, the czar.