New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Physical culture

Charles Atlas


Charles Atlas (Physical culture.  Born, Calabria, Italy, Oct. 30, 1893; died, Long Beach, NY, Dec. 24, 1972.)  Although never a competitive athlete in the strict sense, Charles Atlas (born Angelo Siciliano) was a major figure in early exercise and weightlifting.  In 1921, Atlas developed a system called “dynamic tension,” an early form of isometrics.  A year later, he was named “the world’s most perfectly developed man” by physical culturist publisher Bernart MacFadden.  Through a heavy promotion campaign, he built a significant business.  By 1970, over 70,000 of his body-building mail order courses were being sold annually in seven languages worldwide.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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