WHO IS KIM VAN DIJK?
Welcome to the official website of Dutch cyclist, Olympic Champion and multiple GOLD medalist knighted by Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, Lady Kim van Dijk
At the age of 8, while playing, she slipped on ice and broke her leg, spiral fracture, and with this a long way of recovery came up. Months wearing a cast while growing taller, made her recovery take several years which sadly turned to be a medical mistake. She recalls that, at that time doctor asked what her dreams were, should she recover; she told the doctor: “I want your job…to cure people .. and yea, go to the Olympics’.
At age of 13 she finally was able to start with real sports after her rehabilitation, doctor told her to do a high octane sport involving her legs. Kardinge, the Ice track of Groningen City was nearby and that became her LOVE. She wanted to be the best speed skater in the world! #OlympicDream
She tried and tried but failed because of her early life leg injury that had badly recovered so, being a semi-professional speed skater meant to cycle a lot as well and made her performance in Time Trials pretty outstanding. At age of 19 she swopped her goals. Olympics were still her main goal, but now in CYCLING!
The doctor bit, you might wonder? She started that as well. She began at the university to become obstetrician. Delivered 2 healthy baby boys into this world as a promising student, but education was too hard in parallel with trying to be an Olympian. Choices were made and as age plays a huge part in any athletic career, she quit and started to study sports management.
From this moment Kim also joined cycling teams, next to being a student, she tried to be a solo rider. Work, study and being an athlete at the same time was a lot. But she never gave up. One moment she was asked to try and ride Nationals on Tandem as a replacement of a teammate, nationals TT on the Dutch island of Texel 2009, her first introduction to the Paralympic World. Kim was the Pilot of the completely blind Ester Crombag. New sport/ new discipline. They won! National Champions…From that day on till 2016 Kim became, with all her Stoker (riders on the back of the Tandem) Dutch Champions in TT-ing! Unbeaten. A new career and ‘Paralympic”/ Olympic Opportunity was born…
Then Kim met Kathrin Goeken (stoker 10% sight left) and instantly gave each other a ‘Yes I Do’ from the moment they became KK-Tandemteam. Riding a tandem is like a marriage. Trust each other, (blind for the stoker) and have a true relationship together. Help where needed but also let go when needed. Both have their own qualities but also failures. All troubles out of a marriage on 1 tandem, with just 1 goal: GOLD on the London Paralympic Games 2012.
The team finally took its shape: Coach, physical trainer, mental trainer, dietist and mechanics got involved in the €50.000 worth KK-Tandemteam. The first professional tandem team among women since Tandem riding became Paralympic. (Till 1994 World Championships Tandem Track Sprint/ Till 1972 Olympics).
Eat Train Sleep Repeat for 2 years became the daily routine. The final stage was the Paralympic Games in London 2012 5-9-12! DDAY
The last year since the Worlds of 2011 nothing was good enough, all the team needed was a extra sparkle. And they got it! They could smell the GOLD…
The path the team took was unique. Everybody gave their 100% and made it to 4 months before London the ultimate pace. Kathrin had her goals, Kim had hers. Together there was just one goal: GOLD in London. Living a life on the highest level also brought a lot of resistance and friction. Doubts, questions and more. The last World Cup before London, Kim was left behind. There was another rider who would replace Kim as a pilot because Kathrin wanted to know she had made the right choice. The coach went with Kathrin because he had the trust, thinking leaving Kim behind was the best thing to do.
The team needed this shake-up! Afterwards it’s easy to tell it was the best thing that could ever happen. But during these moments for Kim was like she was cheated and replaced. As you can understand being in a Tandem team you live with each other minimal 5 out of 7 days. Kathrin needed help with a lot of things because of her sight. But when is help feeling as taking away their pride? When is help actual help and when is help seen as taking their own abilities away; that thin red line moves easily and, is misinterpreted even more. With the amazing help of mental coach Geert Kamps the team got this. They bend the negatives into a good atmosphere. Daily they became stronger, daily they felt more like a golden couple again. And the trust to be Olympic Champions returned…
Marginal gains. For Kim there was one other huge step to take, her weight. Because she wanted to have done all she could... With her Dietist Nick Iedema, she followed a diet for over a year. London’s course Brands Hatch had a lot of climbs up to 13% maximum. And to climb on a tandem is way heavier as riding solo. So she needed to be very strong but also as light as possible. First focussed on mm’s in fat. Later, with examination and testing she and her dietist decided race weight would be 62 kilos at 1.79cm.
During Rotterdam Six day January 2012 where she was the host, she refused the Dutch ‘bitterbal’… she remembered saying “No thanks, I want to win GOLD in London so I pass”. At her family where food, sweets and cakes are part of the social habit she asked them to not get her distracted. She asked as friendly as she could say ‘NO’ quiet hard. Nobody made a point when Kim put her life on 1. And cancelled Bday, festivities and social meetings.
Because she never seen it as missing out on things, cancelled on purpose or needed to be excused. Everybody loved what she did, and above all why she did it. This was her passion, her enthusiasm. Everybody loved her passion and it brought them happiness too. Kim brought others inspiration, passion and Love. When Kim had the hard weeks when she left home before the last World Cup, everybody was there too. Just like in London and Rio. They were there. ALWAYS. Like Kim was there always for them, in happiness, enthusiasm and to take others on her/ their journey. Kim made her friends, family and partners part of the Olympic Experience.
5-9-12 the day that lead the team to joy, pain, struggles, countries, cities, the entire world, new friends, new enemies, love, hate, crashes, wounds and above all THE OLYMPICS!
This day started very early. Way before the alarm should go off Kim woke up. She slept just a bit that night in the Olympic Village, she met her parents the day before where all tension came out… And she felt she was born ready that specific morning of 5-9-12 somewhere at 6.30.Race day meant weigh day!
As normal, naked, after 1&2, Kim was about to weigh. Not unimportant 3 weeks before London she also cut 30cm of her hair to be more light! #DOeverythingforthe GOLD. The scale was placed in the middle of the shared living room! OMG.what to do??? Still she went…Naked after 1&2 got on the scale…and hoped nobody would enter the public living room....
Not 62.1 or 61.9. no 62.0! Victory 1-0 already… The moment she had been waiting for so so so long!
Breakfast…In that terrible huge food hall (Vreetschuur) Kim and Kathrin take the same seats as always. It gives them both more calmness, it’s a procedure and structure that worked the last days, weeks, months and years. Breakfast was taken and while eating our visualisation came up. It was like a silent dance… they closed their eyes took TT position…In that huge impressive food place with hundred athletes there it was like they were alone already on that amazing build bike. The feeling, the lightweight amazing bike, electric shifting, Kim her unique made time trial bar for Kathrin and the thought off the pain they would get, how their breathing would be, how Kim would shift gears…all felt ready… Kathrin was starting to tell how they would do it…Kim gave her the control and needed to trust her completely…she started talking and all words, corners, steps, pedal strokes sounded like how Kim would do the too….2-0!
The moments of driving from Olympic Village to the Brands Hatch race circuit where quit. The warm-up was relaxed, there were some distractions but non that took focus. They were in the flow…Nothing could take them of their path….
My inspiration to ride comes from the freedom cycling brings you. You can get far away on your own strength and brings freedom from within! That’s why I started to love cycling above speedskating.
Races or race-simulations are the best practice…ever!
I love Italy! It would be an extreme thin pizza, with pear, walnuts, honey and Gorgonzola! And a scroppino as desert…But only in Italy offcourse…Although this has been a while since I had this meal. I think you should only eat good quality food. So eat no pizza or rubbisch food because it needs to be worth it to eat it! #Foodismyweakness