Swimmer, cyclist are athletes of the year

Swimmer Maarten van der Weijden and cyclist Marianne Vos were voted Sportsman and Sportswoman of the year during the Sport Gala on Tuesday evening in the RAI in Amsterdam.

Van der Weijden, who won gold in the 10 km open water race at the Olympic Games in Beijing in August, surprised everyone by announcing his retirement from swimming during his acceptance speech.
Since the Olympic Games, the man who beat acute leukemia seven years ago had resumed his training but decided he no longer wanted to be ‘a slave to the pressure to perform’.
‘I realised there is more to life than swimming and this is the perfect moment to retire,’ the AD quotes him as telling the audience in the RAI. ‘I have new goals and new dreams.’
Favourite beaten
Marianne Vos, who took gold in the women’s points race in Beijing, was the surprise winner of the Sportswoman title. She beat the favourite Anky van Grunsven, who was nominated for winning the dressage gold medal for the third time.
The other titles at the Sport Gala went to the Dutch women’s water polo team (sport team of the year), their coach Robin van Galen (coach of the year) and the wheelchair tennis player Esther Vergeer (handicapped sports person of the year).

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