Sjoukje Dijkstra, the first Dutch athlete to win a gold medal at Winter Olympics, dies at 82


Sjoukje Dijkstra, the figure skater who in 1964 became the first Dutch athlete to win a Winter Olympics gold medal, has died at the age of 82

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Sjoukje Dijkstra, the figure skater who in 1964 became the first Dutch athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics, has died at the age of 82.

Dijkstra’s daughter, Katja Kossmayer Dijkstra, said in a Facebook post that her mother “passed away peacefully at home” on Thursday. The post did not reveal a cause of death.

Dijkstra skated at three Winter Olympics, finishing 12th in Cortina d’Ampezzo in 1956 before winning a silver medal at Squaw Valley in 1960. Four years later she crowned her career with the gold medal at the Innsbruck Olympics.

She then turned professional, touring with the Holiday on Ice show.

“She won everything, besides Olympic gold: three world championships, five European titles and six times she was the Dutch champion,” Herman de Haan, director of the Dutch skating association, said in a statement.

Coming from a nation where speed skating is the winter sport of choice — Dijkstra’s father, Lou Dijkstra, was a decorated speed skater — she chose instead to focus on figure skating and was known for her powerful jumps.

“With her phenomenal jumping power she managed to amaze the skating world and everyone outside of it,” King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said in a statement. “She was the first Dutch person ever to win gold at the Winter Olympics – and became a legend. Her fantastic achievements are etched in our memories.”

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AP Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games



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