Pieter van den Hoogenband will lead the Olympic team


It is still a few weeks before the Olympic Games start in Paris. This time, 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are participating. The Netherlands will send 280 athletes, participating in 25 sports. The sports supervision consists of 280 people and a staff of 30 people led by the Walloon chef de mission Pieter van den Hoogenband. The Olympic Games start on Friday, July 26 and last until Sunday, August 11.


Van den Hoogenband has a serving role and must create an environment in which athletes can prepare well. “The athletes are the best of the best. They have trained very hard in recent years. They have participated in European and World Championships to qualify. They have denied themselves everything to be able to peak at that one moment”.


As a top swimmer, Van den Hoogenband himself used the then InnoSportLab in Eindhoven, a breeding ground for numerous swimming innovations. “Innovations are necessary to continue to perform at top level and join the global sporting elite. Every sport has its own culture and program. Talented athletes are linked to good coaches. They receive maximum support and maintain this for years to come. There are of course differences, they are all different sports, but the common denominator is innovation”.


“Our aim is indeed the ambition. In order to continue to achieve this, our policy is also aimed at optimal conditions for our top athletes and top sports coaches. We need that to measure where we stand as a sporting country compared to the rest of the world”.


A chef de mission has a facilitating task. There are special counters with specialists for the well-being and mental health of athletes. “We have opted for this procedure over the years, but if athletes want to spar with me, that is of course always possible”.

At a large and closed event such as the Games, transgressive behavior also lurks. Van den Hoogenband is not afraid of that. “That is what we are all responsible for,” he says. “Both team, athletes and coaches. If certain behavior does not match the values ​​and agreements and people get stuck, there are counters where you can go. But we also have to pay attention ourselves. Point this out to people, create the right atmosphere and use your common sense.


“We are called TeamNL, which suggests that we are a team. They are all individual athletes who represent the Netherlands.

Japan did not allow any supporters due to corona. “The absence of supporters was a real loss at that time. Now, we are in good shape. The Netherlands is in the top five of countries with the most sold tickets”.

Personal mission

“I am grateful that I can take this position as chef and build the team. I have a serving role. I know what it means to peak at the right time. I often think back to the words of my grandmother Mia. She always talked about the three R’s, rest, regularity and cleanliness. You can lose yourself in the grandeur of the event, but you have your responsibility”, says Hoogenband in complete modesty.

Source: Studio040

Translated by: Seetha

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