Luke Winn, reporter for Sports Illustrated reported on the Holland Heineken House last week, witnessing the “coronation” of Bob de Jong after his 10K bronze speed skating medal. This left SI with a weird fascination for this Dutch star speed skater:
To judge by the video and images Luke posted here last week, speedskater Bob de Jong of the Netherlands is a world-class wastrel. His wild black hair gives him the look of someone freshly emerged from a session in an Amsterdam coffee shop. And while presiding over the bacchanalia in Richmond’s Holland Heineken House on Tuesday night, de Jong seemed well-acquainted with the title sponsor’s product.
Turns out that de Jong, the accidental medalist in the 10,000 meters after countryman Sven Kramer’s disqualification, is something of an ascetic. He lives in a spartan garret in Berlin and devotes himself obsessively to his athletic craft. That wild hair is cultivated, he says, so the hood of his speed suit will puff up in just the right, aerodynamic way. In fact, the Dutch know Bob as spokesman for BOB, a nationwide campaign against drunk driving. BOB is an acronym for Bewust Onbeschonken Bestuurder — literally, “conscious non-drinking driver,” or designated driver. Pass a breathalyzer test at a random checkpoint in the Netherlands, and you’re handed a BOB keychain.
It’s not an Olympic medal. It’s not even an Olympic pin. But as a token — dare I say “Bob-ble” — of my fortnight in Holland-on-the-Fraser, I want me a BOB keychain.
Luke Winn’s Olympics blog.
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.