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Wim de Graaff

Biographical information

TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
SexMale
Full nameWillem "Wim"•de Graaff
Used nameWim•de Graaff
Born25 August 1931 in Rotterdam (NED)
Died12 January 2021
Affiliations?, Rotterdam (NED)
NOC Netherlands

Biography

Wim de Graaff was among the best Dutch allround skaters in the 1950s. Between 1954 and 1951, he raced in seven European Championships and six World Championships. His best performances were 10th in the 1959 European Championships; in the World Championships he never made the final distance, but placed 21st in 1958. He did medal nationally, earning a bronze at the Dutch Allround Championships in 1955, and winning the event in 1956, when it was held in his home town of Rotterdam. Skating at two Olympics, a tie for fourth place in the 1956 5,000 metres was his best showing, missing the podium by less than 3 seconds. After his retirement from skating, De Graaff owned a sports store in the town of Maassluis, but he also remained active as a coach. He was made national team coach for the 1967/68 season, helping Kees Verkerk win the first male Dutch speed skating title at the Olympics.

De Graaff remained an active athlete, participating in skating, cycling, running, and roller skiing. In 1985 he raced the 200 km Elfstedentocht (he had missed the previous edition in 1963 as he was abroad), and as late as 2012 he set (unofficial) Dutch records in the 80+ age category. In 2013, he skated the opening lap of the new 400 m rink in Rotterdam, and in the following years gave skating lessons on that same rink.

Personal Bests: 500 – 42.8 (1959); 1500 – 2:13.1 (1956); 5000 – 8:00.2 (1956); 10000 – 16:45.4 (1956).

Results

Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1956 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) NED Wim de Graaff
500 metres, Men (Olympic) 43
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) =11
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) =4
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 18
1960 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) NED Wim de Graaff
500 metres, Men (Olympic) 28
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) =15