Władysław Komar

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Władysław Komar
Władysław Komar 1972.jpg
Władysław Komar in 1972
Personal information
Born11 April 1940
Kaunas, Lithuania
Died17 August 1998 (aged 58)
Przybiernów, Poland
Alma materAcademy of Physical Education in Poznań
Years active1962–1980
Height1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Weight125 kg (276 lb)
SportShot put
ClubLechia Gdańsk
Wybrzeże Gdańsk
Gwardia Warszawa
Polonia Warszawa[1]
Coached bySławomir 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.[1] 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.

Early life[edit]

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.[2][3] 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.[4] In 1953, after graduating from primary school by the orphanage, his mother brought him to live with her in Warsaw.

Boxing career[edit]

The first sport that Komar took up was amateur boxing, which he started practising in 1955 and competed in the heavyweight category.[5] 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.[6] After that he got convinced to switch to athletics although initially he also practised rugby and handball.[7]

Athletics career[edit]

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.[8] In June 1964, he improved the national record to 19.50 metres, just 6 centimetres shy of the European record.[9] 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.

After retirement[edit]

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).[10]

He took part in the professional wrestling show, organised by a former Polish Olympic wrestler, Andrzej Supron, which toured the Soviet Union in 1989 and 1990.[11][12]


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.[1][13] 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.

Personal life[edit]

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.[14] 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.

Competition record[edit]

Year Competition Venue Position Notes
Representing  Poland
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


Grave of Władysław Komar and Tadeusz Ślusarski in Warsaw.
  1. ^ a b c Władysław Komar. sports-reference.com
  2. ^ Komar, Władysław; Lis, Jan (1992). Wszystko porąbane (in Polish). Katowice: Stapis.
  3. ^ "Rogówek". Dwory i pałace pogranicza (in Polish). Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  4. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 31–32.
  5. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 115.
  6. ^ "Dual match U-20 Poland vs Italy results". amateur-boxing.strefa.pl. Retrieved 20 June 2019.
  7. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 119–120.
  8. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 134.
  9. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 138.
  10. ^ Wladyslaw Komar. IMDb
  11. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 8–13.
  12. ^ Wrestling czyli jak zostałem Amerykaninem (in Polish)
  13. ^ Wallechinsky, David; Loucky, Jaime (2012). The Complete Book of the Olympics 2012 Edition. London: Aurum Press. p. 253. ISBN 978 1 84513 695 6.
  14. ^ Komar/Lis 1992, p. 56.

External links[edit]