Sam Rabin's background was interesting to say the least. He was not just an accomplished wrestler, but a highly acclaimed artist whose paintings sold at Christies auction house.
Sam Rabinovitch was born in Manchester on 20th June, 1903, to Russian born parents Sarah and Jacob Rabinovitch, Jewish exiles from Belarus. Jacob was a hat and cap designer.
As he grew up in Manchester young Sam dreamed of being the strongest man in the world, emulating his heroes Sandow and Hackenschmidt. His father was scornful of such ideas but was quick to sing the praises of his son as a naturally talented artist. Indeed he was, and at ten years old Sam won a diploma for art. He did what any young artist would do! He bought himself some muscle building equipment.
Just 11 years old Sam was the youngest ever student enrolled to the Manchester Municipal School of Arts. Four years later Sam won a scholarship to study at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. He moved to London and celebrated by joining a wrestling club, the Ashdown Club in Islington where he trained under the tutorship of George MacKenzie, and alongside Bert Assirati, Bill Garnon and Atholl Oakeley. He subsequently went on to Paris where he was greatly influenced by Charles Despiau, the sculptor.
Selected for the 1928 Olympic Games he won a bronze medal in Amsterdam. Controversy surrounded the opening of the games when Queen Wilhelmina arranged a visit to Norway, against her Government's wishes, and was the first Head of State unavailable to open the Games.
In the years that followed various rumours persisted explaining the Queen's non-appearance. The release of official papers eventually revealed Queen Wilhelmina postponed her return from Norway because she was aggrieved that she had not been consulted on the precise date of the opening ceremony.
Controversy aside the Olympic Games went ahead with great success; 1928 being the first year that women were allowed to participate in track and field athletics, the austerity of the post war years having passed whilst the depression of the 1930s, Hitler's political interference and post world war 2 boycotts remained into the future.