Although a talented cyclist, Piet Kleine’s best results came as a speed skater. After a breakthrough bronze at the 1973 World Allround Championships, Kleine top year came in 1976. After winning a silver medal in the Olympic 5,000 m, he won a surprise gold in the 10k despite having to skate in the snow. A fortnight later, Kleine also grabbed the World Allround title in front of a home audience. He closed out the season by setting four World Records in the course of one week. Apart from his medals, his 1976 season also earned Kleine the award for Dutch Male Athlete of the year and a job as a mailman. In a televised interview, Kleine mentioned that he was still jobless, despite his Olympic title, and was then offered the mailman job. Although Kleine never again made the podium in international allround events, he did win a third Olympic medal, winning silver behind the unbeatable Eric Heiden in the 1980 10,000 m. After his last success, Kleine focused on (amateur) cycling, and eventually made the Dutch World Championships squad for the team time trial, placing 5th. From 1986 to 2001, Kleine participated in the Dutch marathon skating circuit, winning the 1990 Dutch title on artificial ice. He placed 5th in the 1997 Elfstedentocht (an irreggularly held 200 km race) but was disqualified for missing a checkpoint.
Personal Bests: 500 – 40.10 (1981); 1000 – 1:17.35 (1981); 1500 – 1:56.28 (1976); 5000 – 7:02.38 (1976); 10000 – 14:36.03 (1980).