The Great Antonio was a strongman born in 1925 in Croatia as Anton Baricevic. He was quite an eccentric figure, so it’s not a wonder that there are many anecdotes about him – like the one where he was able to uproot trees using a cable around his neck, at the age of 12!
After he moved to Canada in 1945, Anton started training and officially began his strongman career in late 1940’s. His first notable record was in 1952 when he managed to pull 433-ton train for almost 20 meters. This feat of strength granted him a place in Guinness Book of World Records where his name was signed once again a couple of years later, after pulling four city buses loaded with passengers.
Antonio Barichievich was pretty massive, as he stood 6’4 and weighed 465 pounds. In 1970’s, he performed all around the world as a strongman and even made an appearance in popular TV shows. The Great Antonio was also involved in wrestling and almost won the Stampede North American Heavyweight Championship, but the title bout, held in Calgary, ended in a public riot. Turns out he wasn’t very popular among fans, partly due to his appearance.
One of the most unique & eccentric strongmen figures died in 2003 from a heart attack.
A couple of interesting facts about The Great Antonio:
- He could eat 25 chickens at one sitting
- Later at his life, he could only be reached by leaving a message at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Rosemont, Canada
- He change the story of his background at least twice – first he claimed he wasn’t Croatian, but Italian. After that, he used to tell everyone that he is actually an extraterrestrials.
- Despite his size and appearance, Antonio had a beautiful and soft voice. He loved to sing.
If you are a big fan of oldtime strongmen like I am, check out these books and get a better idea of how to train like one.