Wim Ruska

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameWillem "Wim"•Ruska
Used nameWim•Ruska
Born29 August 1940 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland (NED)
Died14 February 2015 in Hoorn, Noord-Holland (NED)
Measurements94 kg
NOC Netherlands
Medals OG
Gold 2
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 2


Willem Ruska is the only judoka to have won two gold medals at the same Olympics. In 1972 he was the Olympic champion in the heavyweight and the open class. Ruska was also heavyweight world champion in 1967 and 1971. To this he added seven European titles and 10 Dutch championships during his career. He was not particularly large for the unlimited or open class (110 kg at only 1.89 metres), but was extremely muscular and cut a striking figure with his light blond hair. Ruska began his judo career at age 20 and traveled to Japan to train and learn from the Japanese masters. He also competed in wrestling and sambo, earning Dutch titles in both sports. He retired from judo after the 1972 Olympics, disappointed with the fact that media and public had limited attention for his two Olympic titles due to the terrorist attacks at the Munich Olympics. Ruska then entered professional wrestling, teaming up with fellow judoka Allen Coage - aka “Bad News Brown” - on several occasions. He also worked as a club coach in judo, and worked in casino security. He later opened a bar together with his wife. In 2001, he suffered a stroke that left the right side of his body paralyzed, and his speech disabled. After a prolonged illness, he died in a nursing home at age 74. Ruska was made a member of the International Judo Federation Hall of Fame in 2013.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1972 Summer Olympics Judo NED Wim Ruska
Heavyweight, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold
Open Class, Men (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes