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Judo Legend Wim Ruska is deceased at the age of 74. Ruska, winner of two Olympic titles among others, had been ill for some time. 

Willem "Wim" Ruska (29 August 1940 – 14 February 2015) was a judoka from the Netherlands. He is the only athlete to win two judo medals in one Olympics – in the heavyweight and absolute categories in 1972.


He started mastering the art of Judo in 1960 and traveled to Japan for training. In the 1960s and 1970s he won seven European titles, five in the +93 kg category (1966–67, 1969, 1971–72) and two in the open category (1969 and 1972). He furthermore won two world titles (1967 and 1971) and two Olympic titles.

He retired after the 1972 Olympics and later took part in a number of style-vs.-style fights. In August 1976, he defeated Ivan Gomez in a vale tudo match in Brazil.

    Personal information
Born 29 August 1940
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Died 14 February 2015 (aged 74)
Height 1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)
Weight 94 kg (207 lb)
Sport Judo

Willem "Wim" Ruskas influence on Dutch Judokas

Dennis van der Geest used to sleep as a child under posters born in Amsterdam.,, He was my judo example. His style and explosiveness as a heavyweight inspired me. "Mark Huizinga, Olympic champion in 2000, also learned a lot from Ruska. ,, This is a great loss. As a child I borrowed his book 'Trial and error' three times at the library. This gave me the spirit to return to the mat even after setbacks. '

Between 1976 and 1980, Ruska competed as a pro wrestler for the New Japan Pro Wrestling  and World Wrestling Federation promotions. He had fourteen pro wrestling matches, in some of which he was the tag team partner of fellow judoka Allen Coage.

1972 Munich Olympics 2- Gold Medals Wim Ruska 

He was bouncer at the Red Light District and then he started a cafe in Wormerveer. 


Biography Ruska has also inspired writer Peter Buwalda for his novel 'Bonita Avenue, where judo plays an important role. In 2011 a biography Ruska, subtitled "Triumph and tragedy of a judo champion." In 2013, the former judoka was the International Judo Federation (IJF) into the Hall of Fame. The two-time Olympic champion (1972) was honored during a ceremony prior to the World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, the second Dutchman Anton Geesink after 2003.

The seven-time European champion was hit in 2001 by a stroke, and he was severely handicapped. Ruska was admitted to a nursing home in 2014. Ruska died on 14 February 2015 at the age of 74 and was survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren, he died at the nursing home in Hoorn.

Willem Jan Stegeman, president of the Judo Federation, said in response that the judo world loses one of its greatest icons. 

Also Minister Edith Schippers of sport finds that the Netherlands has lost a great champion. "He was an example and inspiration for many judokas. Netherlands loses a great sportsman and a true judo hero."

NOTE: Wim Ruskas life started when War broke out in Europe WWII, he was born in August 1940 and Nazi Germany invaded Holland in May 1940 just a few months prior to his birth. It was a rough life for all during that time. 

CLICK HERE: Netherlands in World War II

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