This is my olympic gold medal from Atlanta 1996. I won this medal in the “Holland 8”. An olympic gold medal is the most important medal you can win as an athlete. Winning this medal was the result of years of hard work and facing many setbacks. During the 1996 rowing season we did not lose one race, we set different course records and a world record over 2000 meters. We went to Atlanta with only one thing on our minds: winning the gold! To finally feel the gold medal around your neck made the training frequency of 16 times a week and the thousands of kilometers rowed that year and the years before more than okay.
Here is my Olympic silver medal from the olympic games of Sydney 2000. I won this medal in the quad. Like the gold medal, winning the silver was the result of really hard work. In the years before the olympic games of 1996 I had won a world bronze and silver. Between the 1996 and the 2000 games the results on the world championships were not that good. The belief to train hard and making the right choice for the boat (to stick with the quad instead of switching back to the eight) were severely put to the test. The season of 2000 was great, we never finished lower than a third place. Together with the victory on the Henley Royal Regatta this olympic silver medal was a nice reward of the olympiad. Moreover, this medal made it even more special since not a lot of Olympic rowers have won a medal both in sweep and sculling.
A silver medal in the most prestigious event at the most prestigious tournament in the world and now having 3 Olympic medals. Happy? Oh yes! After all the ‘problems’ I had in the past months, winning this medal was the perfect ending. After qualifying for the Games in June we went to Henley. The oldest Cup in the world was ours: the Grand Challenge Cup. We were the first Dutch eight to win the Grand. It was the perfect start for the upcoming weeks of preparation towards the Games. At the Olympics with every race we rowed better. In the final we rowed the best race of the season. Silver! Winning this medal was the combination of a lot of things, but most important: we had fun!
Other important medals:
2001 Silver in the quadruple scull (4x-), Lucerne Switzerland
1995 Silver in the Holland 8 (8+), Tampere Finland
1994 Bronze in the coxed four (4+) (all members from ASR Nereus), Indianapolis United States
Gold 2001 (4x-) Seville, 1996 (8+) Lucerne
Silver 2003 (4x-) Lucerne, 2000 (4x-) Lucerne, 1997 (4x-) Munich, 1995 (8+) Lucerne, 1994 (4+) Lucerne
Bronze 2004 (8+) Munich, 2003 (4x-) Milan, 2001 (4x-) Munich, 2000 (4x-) Munich, 1993 (4+) Lucerne
9-time National Champion:
- 2004 eight with coxswain (8+)
- 2002 straight four (4-)
- 2000 double scull (2x)
- 1999 quadruple scull (4x-)
- 1995 straight four (4-) and eight with coxswain (8+)
- 1994 four with coxswain (4+)
- 1993 straight four (4-) and four with coxswain (4+)
Varsity Den Ouden Vier:
1996 win featured on the Varsity poster for 2000
Henley Royal Regatta:
2000 Queen Mother Cup (4x-) win against Australia
2004 The Grand Challenge (8+) win against Harvard University
This race was later portrayed in the 2010 movie “the social network”. Harvard University had the Winkelvoss twins on board, who had a conflict with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg about the originality of the site. ‘My’ oar that was used in the movie is now hanging in my office.
1992 Gold in the four with coxswain (4+) and silver in the eight with coxswain (8+)
1992 Henley final Ladies’ Challenge Plate: We had to row the final against Imperial College. We were ahead the whole race, but with a fierce sprint Imperial College came back: dead heat in the record time of 6:03 (broken in 2013). Incredible. We had to rerow the final. Since we were the last race of the day we could use the course to row back up to the start. From the finish up to the start we got a standing ovation from the crowd. Very impressive. Unfortunately we lost the race. Very disappointed afterwards of course, but I set it straight in 2000 and 2004 by winning respectively the Queen Mother Cup and the Grand Challenge Cup.