Eight Team Jumbo-Visma speed skaters to Olympic Games

Eight Team Jumbo-Visma speed skaters to Olympic Games

The speed skating team of Team Jumbo-Visma had very successful week. In the last couple of days, the team of coach Jac Orie clinched several seeds for the Olympic Games, which will be held in the Chinese capital Beijing next month. During that tournament, which takes place once every four years, eight Team Jumbo-Visma speed skaters will compete.

The Dutch Olympic trials, which started on Sunday December 26th and ended on Thursday December 30th, was all about qualifying for the Olympic Games. Since the Netherlands can only send eighteen speed skaters (nine men and nine women) to the Games, the pressure was on in an empty Thialf stadium in Heerenveen. However, the huge amount of pressure did not stop the speed skaters of Team Jumbo-Visma from skating really fast.

Antoinette de Jong secured the most spots for the team. The 26-year-old speed skater highlighted a big surprise by finishing second in the ladies' 1,000-meter race on the first day of the tournament. One day later, she clinched an Olympic spot in the 3,000m. On Wednesday, she put the icing on the cake by winning the ladies' 1,500-meter race. "My tournament could not have gone better," a very happy De Jong said.

Thomas Krol, Kai Verbij and Patrick Roest all left Thialf with two tickets for the Olympic Games. Roest, who won Olympic silver in the men’s 1,500-meter race four years ago, won the 5,000m and finished second in the 10,000-meter race. On the final day, he just fell short in the 1500m. "I'm happy with my two spots. However, the 5,000m is the most important distance for me," Roest said.

Like Roest, Verbij also qualified for his second Olympic Games. Thanks to his second place in the 1,000m, the 27-year-old sprinter also managed to get a spot for the 500m. Verbij finished third in the 500-meter race, which means he can compete on both distances in Beijing. "I am relieved that I got it done. After Monday, I was still empty-handed and a few days later I got two tickets. That's very nice."

Krol qualified for the Olympics for the first time in his career. The 29-year-old sprinter, who had to relinquish his spot to Verbij four years ago, won the men’s 1,000-meter race with the second time ever skated at Thialf. On the final day of the tournament, he secured an Olympic spot for the 1,500m as well. "This time, I have really deserved it," a satisfied Krol said.

Carlijn Achtereekte will also compete in Beijing. The 31-year-old speed skater from Lettele qualified with a very small margin (the gap with the number four was one hundredth of a second) in the 3,000m, the distance on which she achieved her greatest success of her career four years ago. "As an Olympic champion, you want to have a chance to defend your title. Fortunately, I get that opportunity," a relieved Achtereekte said.

Merijn Scheperkamp provided the biggest surprise of the tournament. The 21-year-old sprinter of the Development Team of Team Jumbo-Visma set the fastest time in the men’s 500-meter race and thus secured a spot for his first Olympic Games. "I never expected to make it now. I always said: if it's not happening now, there will be another chance in four years," a happy Scheperkamp said.

Sven Kramer and Marcel Bosker have been appointed by the KNSB's long track selection committee. Kramer, who finished third in the men’s 5,000-meter race on the first day of the tournament, was also selected for the Team Pursuit by national coach Jan Coopmans. "I am a happy person," the reigning Olympic champion in the 5,000m said.

Bosker failed to qualify for the Olympics at the Olympic trials. However, the 24-year-old was also selected for the Team Pursuit by national coach Coopmans, causing teammate Tijmen Snel to lose his spot. Snel finished third in the men’s 1,500-meter race, but because of the decision of Coopmans, he will not get the chance to compete in his first Olympics.

These eight Team Jumbo-Visma speed skaters will compete in the Olympics:

Antoinette de Jong (1000, 1500, 3000m and Team Pursuit)
Carlijn Achtereekte (3000m)
Kai Verbij (500 and 1000m)
Marcel Bosker (1500m and Team Pursuit)
Merijn Scheperkamp (500m)
Patrick Roest (5,000, 10,000m and Team Pursuit)
Sven Kramer (5,000m, Team Pursuit and Mass Start)
Thomas Krol (500, 1,000 and 1,500m)

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