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.
After the Dutch DSB Bank went bankrupt, the U.S. speed skating team lost its biggest sponsor. In november, Stephen Colbert decided to step in and provide the team with the necessary finances ($ 300.000,-). Why was he so eager to support the speed skating team?:
“We must ensure that it is America’s 38-inch thighs on that medal platform,” Colbert said in a release announcing the sponsorship.
The mock-blowhard host of the Comedy Central show announced that he will ask his loyal fans to donate money to the U.S. Speedskating team, whose largest commercial cash sponsor, Dutch bank DSB, just went belly-up. (Colbert snarkily referred to DSB as “Deposit Savings in Bong.”) In exchange for the publicity and potential revenue, Colbert Nation logos will be stitched onto the suits of both long-track and short-track skaters during World Cup competitions before the Olympics. (Time)
Click here to watch gold-medallist Shani Davis skate against Stephen Colbert.
On wednesday he was at the Olympic oval in Richmond to support Shani Davis during the 1000 meter race:
Americans can’t understand why the Dutch are crazy about speed skating and Sven Kramer. Check this article on Time.com:
As sports fans go, no group is more bewildering than the speed-skating nuts from Holland.
With their face paint and unruly orange wigs, these people seem not to realize there’s no real reason to get all excited about watching people skate in circles. Of course, you could say the same about NASCAR, but at least the cars jostle against each other for prime position, and there’s a finish line in sight. Plus, when a car whizzes by you at 200 m.p.h., there’s an adrenaline rush. As for humans gliding by you at 35 m.p.h. on skates, they don’t even register a breeze.
When you ask Dutch fans to explain why they get so psyched for this sport, they often leave you feeling even less enthused about it. “I like counting the laps,” says Jeanine Renden, who along with her husband was wearing an orange wig with two lions perched at the top (like on the Dutch coat of arms). “It’s exciting.” Not nearly as exciting as her hairdo. If counting isn’t your thing, you can always stare at the scoreboard. “It’s every exciting to compare the times,” says Dutch fan Eric Vanserstraadan, who was sporting two Dutch flags, one painted on each cheek.
Holland has now won 25 speed-skating golds in its Olympic history, tied for second with Norway behind the United States, which has 28, as the country with the most titles in the sport. Kramer is also the favorite in the 10,000 meters. Think watching 12 laps is torture? Have fun seeing 24.
The Dutch will, of course. After Kramer’s victory, Kleintje Pils played “We Will Rock You,” “We Are the Champions” and several Dutch anthems as well. “Sven-e won a gold medal! Sven-e won a gold medal” the crowd sang. For the thousands of Dutch speed-skating fans who made the trip to Vancouver to liven up a pretty staid event, forget about Kleintje Pils. After Kramer’s win, tonight’s a night for Grote Pils. Big Beer. The Heinekens will be flowing in Vancouver.
Watch this video too, it makes me so proud to be a Dutchman ;)
Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1964231,00.html#ixzz0fc6rR3bu