It is typically a topic for endless cafe discussions: who is the best Dutch skater of all time? The problem is, of course, that the professionalization of sports and innovations in the field of skating, indoor and skating makes a comparison, only at times driven. Then there are the allrounders, the stayers, and the sprinterers. We will never be there but as a starter: who are the ten best Dutch male skaters of all time?
10. Leo Visser
photo: Anefo / Croes, RC
Leo Visser’s best year was 1989 when he became Dutch, European and World Champion. As an Olympic player he won four medals (one silver and three bronze). At the 1992 Games in Albertville, the gold on the 1500 meter slipped him on hundreds of seconds. Visser decided to stop immediately after the Games, resulting in a relatively short career.
9. Falko Zandstra
Photo: UweFan / Wikicommons
Due to his characteristic thin legs, Falko Zandstra got the nickname De Spespierde Spijker. This did not prevent him from becoming a successful allrounder. At the height of his career, Zandstra grew into a teenage idol. 1993 was his best season. The year before he had won the NK and EK and now he became another world champion. At the Olympic Games he managed to reach the podium twice with the best achievement a silver medal of 5000 meters.
8. Jochem Uytdehaage
The skating career of Jochem Uytdehaage is clear in 2002 when he became the first European champion to become allround. In Salt Lake City he won Olympic gold at 5000 and 10000 meters, both with new world records. He was also the first skater to drive the 10000 meters under the 13 minutes. He finished the year gloriously with a world title. Due to circumstances and unlucky Uytdehaage never knew more about this level and could not defend his Olympic titles for example.
7. Ids Postma
Photo: UweFan / Wikicommons
Ids Postma from Deersum was eleven years of professional skater. In his top season between 1994 and 1999 he became Dutch champion twice. Postma never won the three all-round championships in a season but became world champion in 1997 and 1998. Also, Postma was successful at the 1998 Olympic Games, where he won gold at 1000 meters and silver at 1500 meters.
6. Hilbert van der Duim
photo: Croes, Rob C. / Anefo
Hilbert van der Duim was a dominant skater who won the NK skates seven times in a row at the start of the eighties. He also became twice European and World champion allround. The way in which he defeated the American Eric Heiden in the 1980’s against all the expectations in the game is legendary.In addition, Van der Duim is often lovingly reminded of his jokes and strange crashes.
5. Gianni Romme
Gianni Romme was a successful long-distance skater who made a striking name at the Nagano Olympics in 1998. He impressed impressively gold on 5000 and 10,000 meters. Romme knew a somewhat unbalanced career with a lot of peaks and drops. In 2003 he skated a hard season in which he won the three all-round titles. The year before, he won his third Olympic medal (silver at 10,000 meters).
4. Rintje Ritsma
photo: Lempkesfabriek / wikicommons
The Beer of Lemmer developed into a dominant long-distance skater in the 1990s, which has contributed greatly to the further professionalization and commercialization of the skating industry.Ritsma also won as a great skater in a season, the NK, EK and WK allround (1996). Ritsma participated five times in the Olympic Winter Games, where he won six medals, the last in 2006 for the pursuit.
3. Kees Verkerk
photo: photo collection Anefo. National Archive
Kees Verkerk is inextricably linked to Ard Schenk with whom he skates countless exciting duels. He grew into one of the most popular Dutch athletes of all time. Verkerk was a little bit more successful but their first confrontation showed good relationships: on February 17, 1963, Schenk won the 10,000 meters but Verkerk finished first in the final classification. During his career Verkerk broke a large number of records on the 5000 and 10,000 meters. His most successful year was 1967 when he won the NK, EK and World Cup. The following year at the Olympics of Grenoble he won gold at 1500 meters.Verkerk participated in three Winter Games where he won three other silver medals.
2. Sven Kramer
photo: Bjarte Hetland / Wikicommons
You can simply claim Kramer as the best skater of the professional era. The numbers are not about: a large number of world records, six times Dutch champion allround, five times combined with winnings on the EC and World Cup. In addition, he has won three gold medals at the Winter Games (seven in total). In 2007 he was elected Sportman of the year.
1. Ard Schenk
picture: Verhoeff, Bert / Anefo
The fame of Ard Schenk has a romantic touch because of his rivalry with Kees van Verkerk. Together they put Dutch skates on the international map. But without the rivalry, Schenk was an exceptional skater who rode eighteen world records. In 1970 he won the NK, EK and WK all round but his biggest achievement took place at the 1972 Olympics. In Sapporo he fell 500 meters, but he recovered and won gold on the remaining distances. Ard Schenk was voted four times as Sportman of the year
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