Ernest Cadine was born in 1893, north of Paris. He began his career at the age of 16 as a gymnast, wrestler, weightlifter, and swimmer. Before World War 1 he placed 3rd at the French Weightlifting Championship with right-hand swing of 141 lbs., two hands snatch of 187,4 lbs., and other lifts. In 1917 he could already lift close to 170 lbs. In one hand dumbbell swing, in 1918 he swung a 176,4 lbs. heavy dumbbell – at bodyweight less than 165 pounds!
In 1920 he won his first French Weightlifting Championship, and only a few months after that, a gold medal at the 1920 summer Olympics in Antwerp, competing in one-arm snatch (154,3 lbs.), one-arm clean & jerk (198,4 lbs.), and two arm clean & jerk (297,6 lbs.).
Cadine set six light-heavyweight World records – 3 in the snatch and 3 in the clean & jerk. He never competed internationally afterward, and became a professional performing strongman. He was said to have a crushing handshake like a bench vise.
Willoughby writes in his article “The Greatest All-Time Performers In The One-Arm Swing” (1952):
In 1925, as a professional swung 90 kilos or 198.41 pounds, which was 3.4 pounds more than his own bodyweight at the time. Cadine’s best muscular bodyweight, however, was probably not over 180 pounds… Cadine was a fine, polished, all-around lifter, and would have shown to even greater advantage had not his famous rival, Charles Rigoulot, come along at the same time.
Apart from one-hand dumbbell swing, he excelled clean & jerk (286.6 lbs. dumbells!) and deadlift.
In 1978, the year of his death, Cadine received the French National Order of Merit. Cadine passed away in the same year.
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