Last week I reported on how Americans are watching the Dutch speed skating supporters in Richmond with great bewilderment. Today Luke Winn, blogger for SI.com, writes on his experiences in the Dutch olympic fan headquarters, the “Holland Heineken House”, after the men’s 10k race yesterday. It was a terrible day for the Dutch. 6.1 million Dutch viewers (out of a population of 16 million) watched their skating hero Sven Kramer make a fatal error, which cost him the gold medal. After the tragedy Dutch fans in Richmond partied hard anyway in the Heineken House. Here are Luke’s party experiences:
Tuesday was shaping up to be the party of the Olympics — Kramer, the most famous speedskater in a speedskating-mad nation, would be coming to celebrate his gold in their favorite race, the 10,000, and the night would close with a set from Armin van Buuren, the world’s most famous trance DJ.
The Heineken House scene we witnessed later in the day was a conflicted one: Fans still showed up to drink, but they tortured themselves by watching endless replays of Kramer’s fatal lane change on banks of flat-screen TVs. Kramer, already the winner of one gold, was their most beloved Olympian; as fan Bram Van den Boom said to me, “He’s kind of like [our] Team Canada.”
When the 10,000-meter medal ceremony from Vancouver’s BC Place hit the big screens, and the Korean national anthem played, chants of “Holland! Holland!” erupted from the back of the room. The party slowly recovered after that. Van Buuren still showed, as did Holland’s bronze medalist in the race, Bob de Jong, who didn’t act conflicted about the way he’d backed into third place. I took a few moments off from consuming Heinekens to film a FlipCam movie, which includes de Jong pulling a Mark Madsen.
Click here for more, and for a video interview with Dutch fans.