Nel van Vliet

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full namePetronella "Nel"•van Vliet (-Koudijs)
Used nameNel•van Vliet
Born17 January 1926 in Hilversum (NED)
Died4 January 2006 in Naarden (NED)
AffiliationsDe Robben, Hilversum (NED)
NOC Netherlands


Nel van Vliet only learned to swim at age sixteen, but turned out to be a natural talent: months later she won the Dutch national championships in the 200 m breaststroke. She kept on improving rapidly, and after the Second World War she improved the short-course world record on both breaststroke distances several times. Competing internationally turned out to be difficult, as she had not been registered with the Dutch authorities at birth. Her father had been to busy to so. To obtain a passport for his daughter, he needed to appear in court and pay a fine. Now officially recognized, Van Vliet won the 1947 European Championships in Monaco. At the 1948 Olympics, here main opponent appeared to be the only female butterfly swimmer, Éva Székely. However, the Hungarian departed too fast, and Van Vliet grabbed the gold medal. Shortly after returning home, that medal was stolen from her parent’s home. Only in 2004, she was awarded a replacement medal by Dutch IOC member Erica Terpstra, herself an Olympic swimmer. Van Vliet died a year later.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Swimming (Aquatics) NED Nel van Vliet
200 metres Breaststroke, Women (Olympic) 1 Gold

Special Notes