Gustav Frištenský (May 7th 1879 – April 5th 1957) was a Czech wrestler and European champion of amateurs and professional wrestlers. Frištenský was one of seven children of a Bohemian smallholder in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He grew up in his place of birth and had to work hard as a child on his parents’ farm.
At the age of 14 he started an apprenticeship as a blacksmith but changed his job after an accident at work and learned the profession of a butcher. After his apprenticeship, he worked in Kolín and Brno. In Brno he began to work as a gymnast as well as a light and heavy athlete in the “Sokol” sports club. He grew up to become a strong athlete, who from 1898 took part in wrestling competitions in Brno, Prague and Vienna.
In 1903 Frištenský became Austrian champion and in the same year took part in European championships in Greco-Roman style in Rotterdam. At that time, these championships were still held without weight classes. Frištenský performed excellently in Rotterdam and was European Champion ahead of Hans-Heinrich Egeberg from Denmark, Joseph Plombe, Belgium, Philipp de Haas, Belgium, Otto Grandpaier and Karl Hoch from the German Reich.
In 1903, Gustav Frištenský, who was 1.80 m tall and weighed approx. 100 kg, took part in a body and beauty competition in Vienna, which was advertised as a world championship, and took first place there. He can therefore be described as one of the founding fathers of modern bodybuilding.
Frištenský also performed well in weightlifting. He is said to have hit 140 kg with both arms.
In 1906 Frištenský became a professional wrestler. He initially stayed in Europe and won a tournament in Vienna in 1909. He later went to South America and the United States. He also fought there in free style, among other things. at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Chicago, Boston and Montreal. Some of the opponents he beat were Andre Anderson, Victor Soldat, Joe Geshot, Marty Cutler and Joe Wallace.
In 1913 Gustav Frištenský fought against Stanislaus Cyganiewicz from Poland in Vienna and lost to it after 45 minutes. During the First World War he fought as an artilleryman in the Imperial and Royal Army. In 1929 Gustav Frištenský became European champion of the Greco-Roman style professional wrestlers in Prague, ahead of Leskinowitsch, Latvia, Pinetzki, Poland, Jirsa, Czechoslovakia, Orloff, Russia, Karsch and others. Bahn, both Germany. During the German occupation he survived a detention in a concentration camp and was still working as a wrestler after World War II until 1951.
Perhaps the oldest surviving wrestling match…