Dutch athletes to watch out for in Paris

With the Olympics a mere month away, all eyes will be on our home country’s teams and athletes. In the US, we will be following Simone Biles, Katie Ledecky and the men’s basketball team with LeBron James and Steph Curry to name a few. For the Netherlands, it’s not hard to spot the athletes on the field, rink or arena. TeamNL will undoubtedly have the bright orange gear and clothing! And though at the time of writing we are still in the qualification stages for the Olympics, we already know some Dutch athletes and teams to look out for in Paris next month.

Overall, the Dutch Olympic team is expected to win around 38 combined medals. According to the sports data agency Gracenote, TeamNL’s odds are to bring home 18 gold, 5 silver and 15 bronze, putting the Netherlands in the top 10 of overall medal counts. Here’s who to watch to nab one of those medals …

Sifan Hassan
Sifan Hassan, the golden athlete of the Netherlands at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, won gold in the 1500m and 10,000m races, and bronze in the 5000m. This achievement, along with her two gold medals at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, makes her the only runner to have won both middle and long distance categories in a single championship or Olympics. Hassan, originally from Ethiopia, holds numerous Dutch and European records and accolades. Her remarkable performance, including recovering from a fall to win her 1500m heat, captured the hearts of millions and showcased her extraordinary talent.

On 23 April 2023, Sifan Hassan debuted in the classic marathon and won the London Marathon in 2:18:33, despite leg issues. On 3 June, she won the 10,000m and 1500m in Hengelo. On 8 October, Hassan set a new course record at the Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:13:44, the second-fastest women’s marathon ever. She will no doubt make a huge mark on the Paris Olympics as one of the fastest women in the world.

Femke Bol
Femke Bol, born on 23 February 2000 in Amersfoort, is a household name here in the Netherlands. She is a Dutch track and field athlete specializing in the 400 meters and 400 meters hurdles, both individual and as part of the Dutch relay teams. Bol gained international recognition in 2021, breaking several national records and emerging as a leading contender in her events. At the rescheduled 2020 Tokyo Olympics, she won the bronze medal in the 400 meters hurdles, setting a European record with a time of 52.03 seconds.

Bol has won multiple gold medals at the European Championships, including gold in the 400 meters and the 400 meters hurdles at the 2022 European Athletics Championships in Munich. She also secured silver in the 400 meters hurdles at the 2022 World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Known for her strong finishing kick and efficient hurdling technique, Bol excels both in flat and hurdle races.

In 2023, Bol’s exceptional achievements were recognized as she was crowned Athlete of the Year by the Dutch Athletics Union and European Athletics. She was also voted Sportswoman of the Year by NOS, the Dutch public media organisation, during the Sports Gala in Utrecht, solidifying her status as one of the sport’s brightest stars and one of the expected medal winners in Paris.

Dutch women’s field hockey team
Not just the most successful women’s field hockey team in the world, the Dutch women’s hockey team is one of the greatest teams of all time. So it’s no surprise that they are favoured to win a medal in Paris and have high odds of winning gold. The Netherlands women’s hockey team has dominated the sport for the past four decades, particularly excelling in recent years. They have won eight International Hockey Federation World Cups and three Olympic gold medals, along with multiple European Championships. The Dutch women’s team, known for their prowess and quality, has been the ultimate side to beat, making them one of the most dominant teams in global sports history.

We are still in the qualification stage, so there will be many more athletes from the Netherlands to look out for. Rowing, sailing, archery and swimming will also feature many Dutch sportsmen and women. Just look for the bright orange uniforms, sport suits and gear!

Written by Marla Thomson