At the 2008 Beijing Games, his first Paralympic Games, John Ruf won a bronze medal in the 1-person keelboat. At the 2009 2.4mR World Championships, Ruf captured the gold medal, proving that he was the best in the world.
As a youth, Ruf learned to sail X-boats from his grandfather and mother and then he moved to M-16 Scows and E-Scows. He spent much of his childhood shuttling between doctors and hospitals after a tumor was discovered on his spine, but he still sailed. After a car accident, a wheelchair became his mode of transport, but he jumped right back into sailing. He discovered the 2.4mR while flipping through a sailing magazine during his recuperation.
The 2000 U.S. Paralyampic Team Trials were his baptism into the 2.4mR, a singlehanded class that also attracts able-bodied sailors. Ruf had never singlehanded before and was used to conferring with crew on tactics and having extra hands for trimming sails.
Ruf now works as an attorney in Wisconsin, where he is a member of the Pewaukee Yacht Club and trains on Lake Michigan at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center.
- 2009: First place, 2.4mR – 2.4mR World Championship, Ft. Myers, Florida
- 2008: Bronze medal, 2.4mR – Paralympic Games, Quingdao, China
- 2007: First place – U.S. Paralympic Team Trials, Newport, R.I.
- 2007: 10th place – IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships, Rochester, N.Y.
- 2006: Second place – 2.4mR North American Championships, Chicago, Ill.
- 2006: Sixth place – U.S. Sailing Pre-Trials, Newport, R.I.