Maarten van der Weijden
Maarten van der Weijden (born in Haastrecht, Netherlands on 31 March 1981) is a 36-year-old Dutch long distance and marathon swimmer born in Alkmaar. He is most famously known for being the only leukemia cancer survivor to win an Olympic gold medal and was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in the Class of 2011. He won his gold medal in the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in dramatic fashion.
- He was nominated for the 2008 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- He was also named the 2008 LEN Open Water Swimmer of the Year.
- He was inducted in the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honour Swimmer in the Class of 2011.
- He was inducted in the International Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer in the Class of 2016.
- He was named one of the World's 50 Most Adventurous Open Water Men in 2019 by the World Open Water Swimming Association.
- He was known as a promising swimming talent in his youth.
- He was Dutch national champion at the 1500m freestyle in 1998 in both short course and long course.
- He was Dutch national champion at the 1500m freestyle in 1999 in long course.
- He was Dutch national champion at the 1500m freestyle in 2000 long course.
- He was Dutch national champion at the 400m freestyle in 1999 short course and long course
- He was Dutch national champion at the 400m freestyle in 2000 long course.
- He was Dutch national champion at the 5 km open water in 2000.
- He competed at the 1999 European Junior Championships.
- He competed at the 2000 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Waikiki Beach on Oahu, Hawaii.
- In 2001 he was confronted with leukemia and his pool and open water swimming career was considered over. In an incredible turn of events, he fought back against cancer and made a comeback in 2004. Over the next few years, he regained his strength and qualified for the 2004 FINA World Championships in Barcelona.
- He eventually won another three Dutch national swimming titles in the 800m freestyle (both short course and long course) and 1500m freestyle (long course).
- He finished 6th at the 10 km at the 2004 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- He finished 6th at the 25 km at the 2004 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- He won a Dutch national swimming title at the 800m freestyle (long course) and 25 km open water in 2004.
- In 2004, he swam across the IJsselmeer in 4 hours 20 minutes 58 seconds, breaking the former record at the Ijseelmeerzwemmarathon by almost 15 minutes to collect 50,000 euros which he donated for cancer research.
- In 2005 he won the Dutch national swimming title in the 400m freestyle (short course) for the second time in his career.
- He finished 5th in the 2005 FINA World Swimming Championships in the 10 km race in Montreal, Canada.
- He finished 6th in the 2005 FINA World Swimming Championships in the 25 km race in Montreal, Canada.
- He won a FINA World Cup competition in Ismaila in the United Arab Emirates.
- He won a FINA World Cup competition in Al Fujeirah in the United Arab Emirates.
- He won a FINA World Cup competition in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.
- In 2006 he won a silver medal at the 2006 European Aquatics Championships 10 km race.
- In January 2006, he won a FINA World Cup race in Rosario, Argentina.
- At the end of the 2006 FINA World Cup calendar, he finished in 2nd position overall.
- At the 2006 FINA World Swimming Championships 10 km race in Melbourne, Australia, he finished 6th.
- His aim was to become a world champion under the guidance of Dutch national swim team coach Marcel Wouda. He fulfilled his aim when he won the 25 km at the 2008 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain.
- At the 2008 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain, he won a bronze medal at the 5 km race.
- At the 2008 FINA World Open Water Swimming Championships in Sevilla, Spain, he finished 4th in the 10 km race. This result in the 10 km race qualified him for the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
- On 21 August 2008 at the Beijing Olympic Games, he won the gold medal in the 10 km marathon swim, coming from far back in the pack and narrowly edging out David Davies of Great Britain and Thomas Lurz of Germany on the final straightaway.
- On 18 June 2016, he swam 42 km in 6 hours 15 minutes in Zaanse Schans near Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
- In 2016, he swam 99,450 meters in 24 hours in a 25m swimming pool for charity.
- He swam around the island of Texel in 11 hours.
- He swam 102.8 km in 24 hours in a 25m swimming pool for charity.
- He swam for 46 hours in a 25m swimming pool for charity.
- He swam 50 km in the pool in around 12 hours.
- He completed a 140 km training swim from Amsterdam to Leeuwarden in the Netherlands to prepare for his Elfstedentocht swim.
- In 2018, he raised over 5 million euros as he attempted to swim 200 km non-stop in the Elfstedentocht, Netherlands where he swam 164 km in 55 hours to benefit the Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) in a Elfstedentocht Swim.
- He was nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association
- In June 2019, he completed the 195 km Elfstedentocht Swim in the Netherlands.
- On 17 August 2019, he finished 4th overall in the 50th annual 22 km Ijsselmeer Zwemmarathon in the Netherlands, finishing in 6:25:11.44 with escort pilot George Dierijck.
- From 9:00 am on 20 November to 5:20 on 21 November 2021, he set a new world record for the Longest Continuous Swim in a Counter-current Pool with a total time of 32 hours 20 minutes 50 seconds in an outdoor pool in Eindhoven, Netherlands, breaking the existing record set by Mayra Santos in 31 hours 7 minutes.
He launched a website called "Maarten van der Weijden zwemt tegen kanker" (Maarten van der Weijden swims against cancer) where he informed his fans about his life and his career. He collected more money to invest for cancer research. However, the website and the project were set on hold as of 40 June 2006.
He announced the end of his professional swimming career during his dramatic acceptance speech as Dutch Sportsman of the Year award ceremonies. He continues to speak eloquently as a motivational speaker and is a spokesperson for Unilever and blueseventy.
He has also written a popular book.
Op 21 augustus 2008 won Maarten van der Weijden olympisch goud op de tien kilometer open water zwemmen in Beijing. Dat markeerde het eind van een lange weg naar de top. In 2001 werd bij hem acute lymfatische leukemie geconstateerd. Zijn overlevingskansen werden geschat tussen de 40 en 50 procent. Na een serie zware chemokuren, waaronder een stamceltransplantatie, genas hij van zijn ziekte en pakte hij zijn loopbaan als wedstrijdzwemmer weer op.
Hij won zilver op de tien kilometer tijdens het EK van Boedapest in 2006 en werd in 2008 in Sevilla op de vijfentwintig kilometer Wereldkampioen. In Beter vertelt hij het verhaal van zijn ziekte en genezing, en geeft zijn visie daarop. Hij schetst de moeilijke relatie met zijn vader en zijn streven om door een uitgekiende tactiek de beste zwemmer te worden. Prachtig beschrijft Van der Weijden hoe de eerste meters die hij zwom na zijn genezing uiteindelijk leidden tot een olympische gouden medaille. Beter is een indringend en ontroerend boek over toeval, pech en geluk in het leven.
2008 Beijing Olympic 10K Marathon Swim
Maarten van der Weijden came through in Beijing and left indelible marks on the sport. The efforts of many left seeds that are just beginning to blossom. The final results of the 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim are below:
GOLD - Maarten van der Weijden, 1:51:51.6
SILVER - David Davies, 1:51:54.1 (1.5 seconds behind leader)
BRONZE - Thomas Lurz, 1:51:54.6 (2.0 seconds behind leader)
4 - Valerio Cleri, 1:52:06.5 (15.9 seconds behind leader)
5 - Evgeny Drattsev, 1:52:08.9 (16.4 seconds behind leader)
6 - Petar Stoychev, 1:52:09.1 (16.5 seconds behind leader)
6 - Brian Ryckeman, 1:52:10.6 (19.1 seconds behind leader)
8 - Mark Warkentin, 1:52:14.0 (21.4 seconds behind leader)
9 - Chad Ho, 1:52:14.1 (21.5 seconds behind leader)
10 - Erwin Maldonado, 1:52:14.6 (22.0 seconds behind leader)
11 - Ky Hurst, 1:52:14.6 (22.1 seconds behind leader)
12 - Igor Chervynskiy, 1:52:14.6 (24.1 seconds behind leader)
14 - Francisco Hervas, 1:52:16.5 (24.9 seconds behind leader)
14 - Allan do Carmo, 1:52:16.6 (25.0 seconds behind leader)
15 - Gilles Rondy, 1:52:16.6 (25.1 seconds behind leader)
16 - Spyridon Gianniotis, 1:52:20.4 (28.8 behind leader)
16 - Rostislav Vitek, 1:52:41.8 (50.2 behind leader)
18 - Luis Escobar, 1:54:46.9 (1:56 behind leader)
19 - Saleh Mohammad, 1:54:46.6 (2:46 behind leader)
20 - Mohamed El Zanaty, 1:55:16.0 (4:25 behind leader)
21 - Damian Blaum, 1:55:48.6 (4:56 behind leader)
22 - Arseniy Lavrentyev, 2:04:49.6 (11:48 behind leader)
24 - Xin Tong, 2:09:14.4 (16:21 behind leader)
24 - Csaba Gercsak, did not finish
25 - Vladimir Dyatchin, disqualified in a time of 1:52:14.6 (22.1 seconds behind leader)
Van der Weijden is married to Daisy de Ridder and is the father of two daughters, Pilieine (age 2) and Robie, born on 16 February 2016.
2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year Nomination
He was nominated for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year by the World Open Water Swimming Association:
Maarten van der Weijden shocked the world - making Olympic history - when he became the first cancer survivor to win an Olympic gold medal in the most dramatic fashion possible. Rounding the last turn buoy in ninth position, van der Weijden won the 2008 Olympic 10K Marathon Swim...and then retired to the life of motivational speaking and corporate work. One of the most recognizable and personable ambassadors of open water swimming, he authored a book and continued to raise money for cancer research. Last year, he swam 99.5 km in 24 hours and raised €8500. In March, he tried a 24-hour swim again and broke the world record swimming 102.8 km. But he outdid himself in August when he attempted to swim the Elfstedentocht in the Netherlands. The dramatic swim was live streamed and, although his swim was cut short, he swam 164 km in 55 hours. For raising over €5 million for cancer charities, the greatest amount of donations from a solo charity swim in history, for representing himself, his country and the sport so well for so long as a amiable, seriously-minded ambassador, for living an inspirational life for people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, Maarten van der Weijden of the Netherlands is a worthy nominee for the 2018 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year.
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