The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is greatly saddened to learn of the death of Anton Geesink, IOC Member from the Netherlands, at the age of 76.
A great athlete and a 10th dan judoka, Mr Geesink was an Olympic gold medalist in Tokyo in 1964 and a World Judo Champion in 1961, 1964 and 1965. He also won 21 European Judo Championship titles, was Dutch judo champion several times and a three-time national champion in Greco-Roman wrestling.
Mr Geesink dedicated his entire career to the promotion of sport and its values. He was an advisor to the Dutch Secretary of State for Sport, an honorary member of the International Judo Federation (IJF) and a lifetime honorary president of the European Judo Union.
Elected as an IOC member in 1987, he was a member of the Sport for All Commission, a member of the Evaluation Commission for the XIX Olympic Winter Games in 1996, and a delegate member for members’ responsibilities from 1992 to 2001. Since 2002, he played an active role during the Olympic Games as delegate member for Games Observation.
A teacher by profession, Mr Geesink was part of the Royal Military Academy in Breda and a professor at the Academy of Physical Education in Amsterdam and the Central Institute for the Education of Sports Teachers in Overveen. He was also a national and international judo instructor and coach.
Mr Geesink received a number of prestigious distinctions throughout his outstanding career, including the Queen’s Order of Knight of Oranje Nassau, the Prix de l’Académie Française, and the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. He was an honorary doctor in letters at Tokyo’s Kokusikan University, unanimously elected to the IJF Hall of Fame in 2003, and named national sportsman of the year in his country four times. The City of Utrecht honoured him with a statue in the centre of the city in 1995.
He was the author of eleven books and articles on judo and sports education.
The IOC expresses its deepest sympathy to Anton Geesink’s family.