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Anne Marie Louise (Marieke) Wijsman (born 9 May 1975) is a Dutch former speed skater who represented her country at two Winter Olympics and who was the first female speed skater to compete internationally on clap skates.
Early Years Edit
Wijsman was born in Leusden near Utrecht and became a member of a local speed skating club in Ankeveen during the 1988-89 season. Her first competitive races as a 13-year old were at the Jaap Edenbaan in Amsterdam, where she fell in the 500m race due to nervousness. In the second 500m race she recovered and finished in 1:07.1, while her first competitive 1000m was skated in 2:44.0 that same weekend. Her first-ever competitive races with her team, she skated 53.10 at the 500m and 2:53.80 in the 1500m. In following years, she improved steadily while her training capabilities were set to ever higher levels.
In 1992 Wijsman participated in a Dutch national championship for the first time, at the Supersprint Championships in Groningen. She finished in 17th position. In 1994, she was placed 8th in the Dutch national junior A all-round championships, thus earning a spot in the regional district team. While in this district team she raced her first international race in December 1995, in Hamar where the 1994 Winter Olympics were held. At the 1996 KNSB Dutch Single Distance Championships in Groningen, Wijsman won the title of Dutch national 1500m champion.
In National Team Edit
This success promoted Wijsman into the national team led by Eddy Verheijen. She qualified for World Cup meetings in South Korea and Japan and became the first female skater to compete in international races on clap skates. Her first victory was on 11 January 1997 in Milwaukee in the 1000 m of the B-Group. Later in 1997 she was promoted again, this time into the Kernploeg, which is the highest possible team managed by the Koninklijke Nederlandsche Schaatsenrijders Bond, which was led by Peter Mueller.
1998 Olympics - 2000 Edit
She took part in World Cups (winning two B-Group races over 1000 and 1500m in Baselga di Pine and Innsbruck, World Sprint Championships in Hamar (20th) and also qualified for the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano. In Nagano she finished 24th in the 500 m and 20th at the 1000m. Later that year she took part in the World Single Distance Championships over 1500m in Calgary where she finished in 13th position. The following year she finished in 6th position in the World Cup standings and 9th at the World Single Distance Championships, both over 1500m. She qualified for the 2000 European and World Allround Championships, finishing in 11th and 14th position respectively. In February 2000 she won a bronze medal at the Dutch Sprint Championships in Utrecht as well as finishing 18th at the Sprint World Championships in Seoul.
2001 - 2006 Edit
In January 2001 she won another World Cup race in the B-Group, this time a 1000m race in Helsinki. A month later she had a hard fall and suffered a skull fracture. Though she recovered she was not selected for any of the kernploeg teams. She trained in Marianne Timmer's professional team for a while, but this team did not last long and was on her own again. However, in that period she won another B-Group World Cup meeting over 500 m in Heerenveen, won another bronze medal at the Dutch national sprint championships, finished 11th in the World Sprint Championships and qualified for her second Olympics where she took part in the 2002 Winter Olympics held in Salt Lake City. She finished 18th in both the 500m and the 1000m. With help from Tjalling van den Bosch she found herself some sponsors to start her own professional team. During the summer of 2002 she trained with Peter Mueller again, but when Van den Bosch became a fitness coach at the American national team she moved with him to Salt Lake City again to prepare for the 2004 season and for the 2006 Winter Olympics, resulting in a silver medal at the 2003 Dutch sprint championships. At the World sprint championships she only reached the 23rd spot, but at the 2003 World Single Distance Championships she was 12th (500m) and 13th (1000m).
Though her relationship with Van den Bosch was good they decided to go their own way at the end of the 2004-05 season and after Wijsman finished 23rd at the World Sprint Championships. Since June 2005 she trained with the KNSB regional top team again. In this team she participated in World Cup meetings again as well as the World Sprint Championships in Heerenveen where she became 16th. She won a B-Group race over 1000m in Milwaukee, but was unable to qualify for the 2006 Winter Olympics. In the summer of 2006 she applied for a job with the police and was hired. A contract signed between the police station and the KNSB made sure she was still able to compete in speed skating while learning to become a general police officer. Together with Frouke Oonk she became part of the team of Chris Witty, who quit her international career after the Olympics and started training her own team.
Wijsman's last notable result was a B-Group World Cup win over 500 m in Heerenveen on 11 November 2006.
In late December 2006, Marieke Wijsman ended her international career as a speed skater in order to devote herself to work as a police officer.
- ↑ Jungmann, Bart, “Homoseksuele sporters vertellen hun verhaal in boek”, de Volkskrant, <http://www.volkskrant.nl/sport/article1092305.ece/Homoseksuele_sporters_vertellen_hun_verhaal_in_boek>
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