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Gerard van Velde

Gerard van Velde (b. November 29, 1971 in Heerde, The Netherlands), speedskater.

Gerard van Velde is a sprinter.

Van Velde has entered a second skating career. Being the best Dutch sprinter during the early 1990s still was not enough for medals during the 1992 and 1994 Winter Olympics. Frustrating was his fourth place on the 1000 meters in the 1992 Olympics, missing the bronze by one hundredth of a second.

The introduction of the clap skate initially proved too much him: he could not get used to the skating technique this new type of skate required. Instead, he turned a hobby into a profession by becoming a salesman of second hand luxury cars.

Fate had other plans for him, though.

Another skater invited Van Velde to become his training partner. Gerard van Velde agreed and found out that he could get used to the clap skate after all.

In the meantime a new generation of Dutch sprinters had arrived, such as Jan Bos, Erben Wennemars[?] and Jacco-Jan Leeuwangh, who were able to compete on a global level.

Nevertheless, Gerard van Velde fought back and during the trials for the 2002 Winter Olympics he became the fourth sprinter to qualify for the games.

In Salt Lake City he finally shook off all frustrations. Starting before all other favorites, he raced to a world record time, shaving off more than half a second of the previous best time of the world and more than a second off his personal best, to finish in 1'07''18.

This proved too rich for the fourteen skaters to follow and so Gerard van Velde won his first and so far only golden Olympic medal in both his skating careers.

I use the word fate in a purely metaphorical sense. However, if you feel that there are people who are going to take it seriously (and get offended by it), please remove the word.



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