Atje Keulen-Deelstra was the dominant female speed skater of the early 1970s. As a 30-year-old mother of three, she had trouble getting onto the Dutch national team, but after securing the national title in 1970, she went on to win the World All-Around Championship and finish third at the World Sprints. She added three more world titles times in the next years (1972-74), while finishing runner-up at the World Sprints in 1973 and 1974. At the Sapporo Olympics, she was highly favored for a gold medal, yet had to contend herself with one silver and two bronze medals. In addition to these prizes, Keulen-Deelstra set two World Records and won four Dutch titles. In 1970, she was named female Dutch athlete of the year. An all-around skater, Keulen-Deelstra also excelled in other disciplines, winning three Dutch titles in the “kortebaan” (140 m straights) and four in marathon skating, which she turned to in the late 1970s. She also competed in three Elfstedentochten, a 200 km-race through her native province of Friesland. Her daughter Boukje Keulen also was a speed skater, competing at a national championship level in short track, long track and marathon skating.
Personal Bests: 500 – 43.78 (1974); 1000 – 1:28.26 (1974); 1500 – 2:15.84 (1974); 3000 – 4:49.07 (1974).