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Frits de Ruijter

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameFredericus Arnoldus "Frits"•de Ruijter
Used nameFrits•de Ruijter
Born5 April 1917 in Rotterdam (NED)
Died20 March 2012 in Heemstede (NED)
AffiliationsAV '23, Amsterdam (NED)
NOC(s) Netherlands


The best Dutch miler/1,500 m runner of his era, Frits de Ruijter collected nine national titles in that event between 1937 and 1948. Additionally he earned titles in the 800 m (1946-47) and cross-country (1939, 1942). His most remarkable victory was no doubt in 1939, when he worked as doorman for the fancy Amstel Hotel in Amsterdam. Leaving his job at one o’clock, he departed for Rotterdam by train, sped to the track in a taxi, won the race (the first Dutchman to beat 4 minutes for 1,500 metres) and then raced back to Amsterdam to hold the door for newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hurst at 5 pm. In international competition, he won medals at the (open) British Championships in the half-mile (1947) and mile (1946, 1948). Denied participation in the 1946 European Championships by the national federation, he did qualify for the 1948 Olympics, where he closed out his career in the heats of both the 800 and 1500 m. De Ruijter broke his first Dutch record in 1935, and would do so 17 times in total, in distances between 800 and 2000 m. From his humble beginnings as a doorman, De Ruijter became managing director of an international catering company. He also worked as a sports journalist for newspaper, radio and television.

Personal Bests: 800 – 1:51.8 (1947); 1500 – 3:51.7 (1947).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1948 Summer Olympics Athletics 800 metres, Men Olympic 6 h3 r2/3 Representing Netherlands    
  1,500 metres, Men Olympic 4 h1 r1/2