NRC Handelsblad published a wonderful interview of Maarten van der Weijden about his Olympic 10K Marathon Swim success:
Regarding his chances of a gold medal, Maarten said, "I had prepared myself totally and I felt I had an outside chance of winning if everything went according to plan. I thought: if I win, that’ll be fantastic but if I come third or seventh that will be fine too. I believe that attitude is what made me make the right decisions at the right times and win the race in the end.
Regarding what he was thinking about during the final lap, Maarten said, "I swam forward to take the lead, very deliberately."
Regarding his leukemia, Maarten said. "When I was diagnosed with cancer it didn’t seem real to me. I felt I was having a nightmare, a dream. It seemed as if was looking at a film of myself. That made me feel cut off from my emotions, but my focus and my memories became more intense."
Regarding his post-Olympic victory demeanor, Maarten said, "I thought, 'Wouldn’t it be cool if I won"' I'm sure I'll go completely crazy. But when I got there first, nothing happened. It was as if another film had started rolling and that strange out of body feeling came over me again. I think it is my body’s way of coping with extreme experiences. It doesn’t matter if they’re traumatic or great."
A great man. A great victory. A great inspiration.
Photo by Pei Qingsheg shows Maarten doing some backstroke during the Olympic 10K Marathon Swim.