ol yMpiC GaMES
Orange fireworks in the making
Beijing will be olympic Games number three for Marit van Eupen and Kirsten van der Kolk of the Netherlands.
they made the final in the lightweight double in Sydney and won bronze in athens. this time they will be
aiming for gold, no less. if that were not the case, they would not be rowing in golden shoes. “our golden
shoes remind us of our goal every stroke,” say the duo.
double sculls with
Kirsten Van Der Kolk (b) and
Marit Van Eupen (s).
© Simon Lorenz
But to reach Beijing, a stop via Poznan, Poland,
was required to qualify for the Games. “It was
one of the important things we had to do. We
could not win an Olympic medal there, but
we could certainly lose it, so we were aware
of the stakes,” says Kirsten. The Dutch crew
grabbed one of the two last Olympic spots
up for grabs at the Final Olympic Qualification
Regatta, ahead of the USA.
explains the main points they covered: “We
asked ourselves: are we prepared to do it?
Will we enjoy it? Does the National Olympic
Committee believe in us? All the answers to
those questions were ‘Yes!’”
If they did not think they could reach their goal,
they would not have made all those efforts
to prepare for Beijing. “We are preparing
fireworks for Beijing. We will race so hard on
our slides that fire will come out,” they laugh.
Kirsten van der Kolk (l) and
Marit van Eupen (r) with Coach
It has been nearly four years since Athens.
After their Olympic bronze there, the duo
parted ways. Marit raced on to three World
Championship gold medals in the lightweight
single while Kirsten had a baby. It was only a
few months ago, back in January, that the duo
got in a boat together again.
With the Qualification Regatta behind them,
the lightweight crew will go “back to basics”
for about two weeks before going to South
Korea where the Netherlands’ multisport final
Olympic training camp will take place. The
climate in South Korea is similar to Beijing’s
and the time difference is only one hour.
To assess how realistic their comeback was,
Marit and Kirsten sat down with Coach
Josy Verdonkschot to discuss the physical,
social and material prerequisites. Josy
The two Dutch athletes sparkle with confid
ence and enthusiasm. “We are more than ever
aware of everything we have to do but also the
way we can do it to get the best out of it and
enjoy it,” says Marit. “We know how important
our experience is,” says Kirsten. “We know
what we can do. And I think that’s the most
important part – that we know ourselves.”