Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Skating | Jutta Leerdam opts for an individual approach – but will not join Team IKO after all


Making the golden Olympic dream come true is Leerdam’s main goal. Next winter the foundation must be laid for the Olympic peak of 2025/2026 and it has been clear for some time that this would not happen in the service of Jumbo-Visma.

The Visma team was already busy in the background with the arrival of new signpost Suzanne Schulting, although one was not directly related to the other. The question that remained open was as follows: where does the future of Leerdam lie? At Team IKO, it seemed, where she would pull the cart together with Joy Beune.


Beijing 2022 | Leerdam is dissatisfied with this silver ride

Often stressful, sometimes lonely

Things turn out differently. Leerdam renounces employment with Team IKO, she announced via Instagram, and opts for an individual approach. “I was close to Team IKO, but at the bottom it took more away from me than what I got back. And that is okay for both parties,” said Leerdam, a specialist in the 1000 meters.

“I would like to thank all the teams I spoke to and who tried to make it workable in their own way. An individual route is not always fun. It’s often stressful, it’s lonely sometimes, but when I win it’s worth it. If I do it, I do it well.”


Beijing 2022 | Defeated Leerdam greets first Olympic medal with a smile

Stepping out of comfort zone

“It was 50/50. Each route has its pros and cons. I compared every possible route within the skating world with an individual route. A route with people I believe in is something I can’t let go of. There are too many signs that this is what I want. So I’m just going to do it,” continues 25-year-old Leerdam.

“This sports-technical route is the best for me in the pre-Olympic season. I want to learn, invest and go back to where I came from. Work hard and step out of my comfort zone. If that doesn’t work, then I have followed my instincts and hopefully I will look back on a career that I am proud of. And that is the most valuable thing to me.”


Beijing 2022 | Zilveren Leerdam has a chat with family after the ceremony on stage


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