Russian Lion, George Hackenschmidt, was born in Dorpat, Estonia on August 2, 1878. “Hack,” as he was called, had two quite different sides to his career. He was first a professional wrestler and strength athlete; second, he was a serious philosopher. While his upbringing was fairly conventional, at age 17 he dropped out of an apprenticeship program in engineering to take up athletics. By the age of 19 he had already begun to distinguish himself as a wrestler.