Rintje Ritsma, four times world champion
Four times World Allround Champion, last time in 2001, Budapest, six times European Champion,
He was also the first one who managed to have a professional skating team, instead of training in the national team. He is the great initiator of the Teams system as we know it now, and featured in the tv commercial of his sponsor Sanex: naked in a (bubble) bath.
He skated his last lap on ‘Flevonice’ on inlines. In nature, with his little dog running with him. “My body gets older and last season for the first time I could achieve my goals. Not just competing, but also in training. A back that gets worse is partly to blame.” Well, he lasted until age 38, an achievement in itself.
He won’t be bored. Not just his hobbies (including sailing) will keep him busy. He will be a member of the Dutch committee of Ard Schenk, that tries to rejuvenate the Dutch Skating Federation KNSB and create better chances for top athletes. Besides, he is asked to help in the board of the Dutch bob sledge Federation.
European Champion: 1994, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000.
World Champion allround: 1995, 1996 (outdoor, Inzell), 1999, 2001 (outdoor, Budapest)
World Champion 1500m and 5000m in 1997. (outdoor, Warsaw)
Olympic silver on 1500m (1994 behind Koss) and 5000m (1998 behind Romme); bronze on 1500m (1998), 5000m (1994) and 10,000m (1998). Bronze with the Dutch team in the Team Pursuit (2006).