The younger brother of teammate Rinus van Rekum, Willem van Rekum competed in the 1920 Olympics in tug-of-war. The Dutch squad was composed of members of Achilles Krachtsportvereniging in Arnhem, winners of the Dutch trials. The side placed second, behind the much heavier British side. This result was in doubt for some time, as the Official Results listed both the Netherlands and the US as winning second place. This confusion was ended in 1968, when Henk Janssen presented his silver medal and associated Olympic diploma.