Dutch judo champion Anton Geesink dies aged 76

Monday, 30 August 2010

By Toby Sterling, Associated Press Writer

AMSTERDAM — Anton Geesink, a member of the International Olympic Committee who won the first Olympic judo gold medal, has died after several weeks in the hospital. He was 76.

The Netherlands' Olympic Committee announced Geesink's death Saturday. He had been in the hospital with an unspecified illness in his hometown of Utrecht, Netherlands.

The International Olympic Committee praised Geesink as a "great athlete" who "dedicated his entire career to the promotion of sport and its values."

Geesink had been a member of the IOC since 1987.
The 6-foot-6 Geesink stunned Japan by becoming the first Westerner to win the world judo championship in 1961 in Paris, then won his Olympic gold in 1964 in Tokyo. He won another world title in Rio de Janeiro in 1965 along with a record 21 European championships.

"Everybody will remember the gigantic stature of this Dutch figure whose size was equivalent to his kindness," the International Judo Federation said in a statement. "Anton Geesink never stopped fighting for the development of sport throughout the world."

Geesink was the first European to become a ninth-dan judoka in 1987, and was awarded the 10th degree in 1997 by the International Judo Federation.

The blue uniform now worn by one competitor in international matches so that judges, referees and spectators can tell the athletes apart more easily arose from a suggestion made by Geesink at an IFJ meeting in 1986.

"Today, Judo is a universal activity, thanks to the 'way of education' that Jigoro Kano created at the end of the 19th century," the IJF statement said. "But for sure, it would not have been possible if, first of all, Anton Geesink had not been the great champion he was and secondly, he had not become such a fantastic ambassador during and after his sports career."

Geesink is survived by his wife, Jans, and their three children.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

[Source: usatoday.com]

1 komentar:

Luda said...

A memorial site was created for Anton Geesink! Honor his memory by contributing to his memorial site http://antongeesink.people2remember.com/

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