Eugen Sandow was born on April 2, 1867 with the name Friedrich Wilhelm Müller and he was a Prussian pioneering bodybuilder known as the "father of modern bodybuilding".
He left Prussia in 1885 to avoid military service and traveled throughout Europe, becoming a circus athlete and adopting Eugen Sandow as his stage name. He made his first appearance on the London stage in 1889.
In 1894, Sandow featured in a short film by the Edison Studios. The film was of only part of the show and features him flexing his muscles rather than performing any feats of physical strength. While the content of the film reflects the audience attention being primarily focused on his appearance it made use of the unique capacities of the new medium. He created the Institute of Physical Culture, an early gymnasium for body builders in 1897. In 1898 Sandow founded a monthly periodical, originally named Physical Culture and subsequently named Sandow's Magazine of Physical Culture.
He held the first major bodybuilding contest at the Royal Albert Hall on September 14, 1901. Sandow's resemblance to the physiques found on classical Greek and Roman sculpture was no accident, as he measured the statues in museums and helped to develop "The Grecian Ideal" as a formula for the "perfect physique."
Eugen Sandow died in London on October 14, 1925 of a stroke at age 58 and was buried in an unmarked grave in Putney Vale Cemetery at the request of his wife, Blanche.
As recognition of his contribution to the sport of bodybuilding, a bronze statue of Sandow sculpted by Frederick Pomeroy has been presented to the winner of the Mr. Olympia contest, a major professional bodybuilding competition sponsored by the International Federation of Bodybuilders, since 1977. This statue is simply known as "The Sandow".
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