Wim Ruska in 1968
|Full name||Willem Ruska|
|Nickname(s)||Tarzan of the Tatami|
29 August 1940|
Amsterdam, the Netherlands
|Died||14 February 2015(aged 74)|
|Height||1.89 m (6 ft 2 in)|
|Weight||94 kg (207 lb)|
Willem "Wim" Ruska (29 August 1940 – 14 February 2015) was a judoka from the Netherlands. He is the only athlete to win two gold medals in Judo in one Olympics – in the heavyweight and absolute categories in 1972.
He started mastering in Judo, learning under Jon Bluming, in 1960 and traveled to Japan for further training. In the 1960s and 1970s he won seven European titles, five in the +93 kg category (1966–67, 1969, 1971–72) and two in the open category (1969 and 1972). He furthermore won two world titles (1967 and 1971) and two Olympic titles. His success at the 1972 Summer Olympics was overshadowed by the Munich massacre that took place days before.
He retired after the 1972 Olympics and later took part in professional wrestling, competing between 1976 and 1980 for the New Japan Pro Wrestling and World Wrestling Federation promotions. He had over 150 pro wrestling matches, in some of which he was the tag team partner of fellow judoka Allen Coage.
In August 1976, Ruska defeated Ivan Gomes in a vale tudo bout in Brazil. Details about the fight are sparse, but it is known that Gomes threw illegal strikes and that the event result was controversial. At the end of the match, Gomes took Ruska's back and tried a rear naked choke, but they became tangled on the ring ropes. While Ruska defended successfully against the choke, the referee Teruo Takahashi noted Gomes's body was positioned half out of the ropes, so he counted him out and declared Willem the winner. Brazilian crowds were infuriated and caused a turmoil, and local newspapers even declared Gomes the winner of the match.
Ruska was a close friend to sambo world champion Chris Dolman, also a Bluming understudy. They had a falling out after Dolman joined Akira Maeda's Fighting Network Rings while Ruska was part of Antonio Inoki's New Japan Pro Wrestling, but they mended it in September 1997, when Inoki visited Holland along with Naoya Ogawa. They stayed in contact until Ruska's death in 2015.
In 2001 Ruska suffered a major stroke which left him physically disabled.
Ruska was admitted to a nursing home in 2014. Ruska died on 14 February 2015 at the age of 74 and was survived by his wife, two children and five grandchildren.
- Ruska. Triomf en tragiek van een judokampioen. thomasrap.nl
- Obtained results (dutch). Wimruska.nl. Retrieved on 16 November 2012.
- Wim Ruska. sports-reference.com
- "Wim Ruska op 74-jarige leeftijd overleden" (in Dutch). Algemeen Dagblad. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Kreikenbohm, Philip. "Matches « Willem Ruska « Wrestler-Datenbank « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database".
- "ANTONIO INOKI HOME PAGE 70s'kakutougi history".
- Ivan Gomes, BJJ Heroes
- "★「マット界スキャンダル『機密文書』」にルスカvsゴメスの記事が - 格闘技徒然草".
- "ウィリアム・ルスカとクリス・ドールマンの物語～日本マット界に多大な影響、大親友としての別離と氷解 - プロレス/格闘技 カクトウログ".
- "Judolegende Wim Ruska overleden" (in Dutch). de Telegraaf. 14 February 2015. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "JUDO NEWS: THE GREAT DUTCH JUDO CHAMPION WILLEM "WIM" RUSKA HAS PASSED AWAY".
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