Władysław Komar in 1972
|Born||11 April 1940|
|Died||17 August 1998 (aged 58)|
|Alma mater||Academy of Physical Education in Poznań|
|Height||1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)|
|Weight||125 kg (276 lb)|
|Coached by||Sławomir Zieleniewski|
Władysław Stefan Komar (11 April 1940 – 17 August 1998) was a Polish shot putter, actor and cabaretist. Competing in three Summer Olympics between 1964 and 1972, he won the gold medal at the Munich Games in 1972 with a throw of 21.18 metres. His nickname was "King Kong" Komar as attributed to a Sports Illustrated article.
His personal bests in the shot put were 21.19 metres outdoors (Warsaw 1974) and 20.32 metres indoors (Grenoble 1972), both being national records during his career.
Władysław Komar was born in Kaunas, Lithuania on 11 April 1940 to Władysław Komar-Zabożyński and Wanda Jasińska. As a Polish noble family they owned a mansion in Rogówek (Lithuanian: Raguvėlė). Both of his parents were athletes – father competed for Lithuania as Vladas Komaras at the 1934 European Athletics Championships in the high jump and 110 metres hurdles, mother was a shot putter, who set a national record in early 1930s. During World War Two the family moved to Gulbiny (Lithuanian: Didieji Gulbinai). His father, who during war helped the Polish anti-German resistance movement, the Home Army, was murdered in 1944 in Glitiškės by a group of Ypatingasis būrys militia. After the entrance of the Red Army in 1945 young Wladysław escaped with his mother and older sister to Warsaw as the mother feared they might get sent to Syberia by the Soviets like many former land owners. They first travelled through Białystok to Warsaw before his being placed in an orphanage near Poznań, in Western Poland. In 1953, after graduating from primary school by the orphanage, his mother brought him to live with her in Warsaw.
The first sport that Komar took up was amateur boxing, which he started practising in 1955 and competed in the heavyweight category. He went as far as representing his country at the under-20 level. His last fight was in a junior team match against Italy in 1959 when he was knocked out by Giorgio Masteghin in the first round. After that he got convinced to switch to athletics although initially he also practised rugby and handball.
At the beginning of his athletics career he also competed in the high jump and decathlon. He even set a Polish record in the latter in 1963. Komar's major championships debut came at the 1962 European Championships in Belgrade where he finished fourth behind compatriot Alfred Sosgórnik. In February next year he threw 18.60 metres, his first national record. In June 1964, he improved the national record to 19.50 metres, just 6 centimetres shy of the European record. This result made him one of the favourites for the October Olympic Games held in Tokyo, however, he only managed ninth place with 18.20 metres. In 1966 he set the Polish indoor record of 19.20 metres and later that year the outdoor record of 19.61. Afterwards he competed at his second European Championships in Budapest where he managed the bronze.
At his third Olympic Games, in Munich, he won the shot put competition throwing 21.18 metres, just one centimetre further than the American George Woods and four ahead of East Germans, Briesenick and Gies.
Komar later became an actor, appearing in more than ten films, including Kazimierz Wielki (1976), Soviet Boris Godunov (1986), Roman Polanski's Pirates (1986), as well as Magnat (1987) and Kiler (1997).
He died on 17 August 1998 in a car crash coming back from an athletics meeting in Międzyzdroje together with another Olympic gold medallist pole vaulter Tadeusz Ślusarski. Coincidently, the car they hit was driven by another athlete, former sprinter, Jarosław Marzec, who died several days later. A memorial athletics meeting in their name is held every year in Międzyzdroje.
Władysław Komar was married twice. His first wife, Małgorzata Spychalska (b. 1942), was a daughter of Marian Spychalski, a prominent Polish communist politician. They divorced in 1973. With his second wife Maria (1950–2008), a former volley ball player, he had one son Mikołaj (b. 1977) who went on to become a photographer.
|1962||European Championships||Belgrade, Serbia||4th||18.00 m|
|1964||Olympic Games||Tokyo, Japan||9th||18.20 m|
|1966||European Championships||Budapest, Hungary||3rd||18.68 m|
|1967||European Indoor Games||Prague, Czechoslovakia||3rd||18.85 m|
|1968||European Indoor Games||Madrid, Spain||2nd||18.40 m|
|Olympic Games||Mexico City, Mexico||6th||19.28 m|
|1971||European Indoor Championships||Sofia, Bulgaria||4th||19.43 m|
|European Championships||Helsinki, Finland||3rd||20.04 m|
|1972||European Indoor Championships||Grenoble, France||2nd||20.32 m|
|Olympic Games||Munich, Germany||1st||21.18 m|
|1974||European Championships||Rome, Italy||6th||19.82 m|
|1977||European Indoor Championships||San Sebastián, Spain||3rd||20.17 m|
|1978||European Indoor Championships||Milan, Italy||2nd||20.16 m|
- Kazimierz Wielki (1975) as Władzio
- Skradziona kolekcja (1979) as Driver
- Pirates (1986) as Jesus
- Boris Godunov (1986) as Sobansky
- Przyłbice i kaptury (1986, TV series) as Dzieweczka
- Magnat (1987) as Guide in the palace
- Opowieść Harleya (1988) as Man working for Witek
- Sonata marymoncka (1988) as Zieliński
- W klatce (1988) as Landlady's husband
- And the Violins Stopped Playing (1988) as Dombrowski
- La Treizième voiture (1993) as Alexander
- Blood of the Innocent (1994) as Thug
- Kiler (1997) as Uszat
- Prostytutki (1998) as Szogun, Bodyguard at Gejsza
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Władysław Komar.|
- Władysław Komar. sports-reference.com
- Komar, Władysław; Lis, Jan (1992). Wszystko porąbane (in Polish). Katowice: Stapis.
- "Rogówek". Dwory i pałace pogranicza (in Polish). Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 31–32.
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 115.
- "Dual match U-20 Poland vs Italy results". amateur-boxing.strefa.pl. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 119–120.
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 134.
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 138.
- Wladyslaw Komar. IMDb
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 8–13.
- Wrestling czyli jak zostałem Amerykaninem (in Polish)
- Wallechinsky, David; Loucky, Jaime (2012). The Complete Book of the Olympics 2012 Edition. London: Aurum Press. p. 253. ISBN 978 1 84513 695 6.
- Komar/Lis 1992, p. 56.