The Netherlands is sending a ‘compact’ team of at least 29 athletes to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, the Dutch sports body NOC*NSF said. A further 10 athletes will take part in the Paralympics.
The main Dutch team is made up of 20 long-distance and nine short-track speed skaters with one – Jorien ter Mors taking part in both tournaments.
The Netherlands dominated the previous winter Olympics speed skating event, winning 24 medals, including eight golds. Among this year’s hopefuls: Jorrit Bergsma and Sven Kramer will defend their titles in the 10,000m and 5,000m while Ireen Wüst will defend her 3,000m Olympic title.
During the presentation, team leader Jeroen Bijl declined to set a target for the South Korea games. ‘That would be difficult after our success in Sochi,’ he said, adding that 12 medals would be a bare minimum.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing the total picture,’ he said. ‘By that I mean the stories which emerge. Of course, that has to be translated into medals, but I am hoping to see some fine competition.’
The Winter Olympics take place from February 9 to 15.
The team could still be expanded by snowboarder Cheryl Maas, hoping to qualify for her third winter Olympics plus snowboarders Niek van der Velden and Michelle Dekker as well as skeleton racers Kimberley Bos and Joska Le Conté.