Bodybuilders Through the Ages
Over the past 150 years, bodybuilders have gone from circus sideshows to celebrities, imparting fitness lessons along the way
- By Jesse Rhodes
- Smithsonian.com, July 20, 2009
(Hulton-Deutsch Collection / Corbis)
This Austrian-born female bodybuilder adopted a variation of Sandow’s name to advance her own unique career. Over the course of 38 years, she exhibited her 6-foot, 210-pound muscular frame in circuses and theaters around the world and performed stunts such as juggling cannonballs, supporting a spinning merry-go-round with riders on her chest, and tossing her 160-pound husband in the air. Unfortunately, contemporary popular opinion labeled female bodybuilders as little more than circus freaks.