Leo Visser

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games • Other
Full nameLeendert "Leo"•Visser
Used nameLeo•Visser
Born13 January 1966 in Haastrecht, Zuid-Holland (NED)
NOC Netherlands
Medals OG
Gold 0
Silver 1
Bronze 3
Total 4


Leo Visser was the best speed skater of the world in 1989, winning both the European and World Championships, and earning the prestigious Oscar Mathisen Award. A year earlier, Visser had been close to winning Olympic gold, when Tomas Gustafson beat Visser’s leading time only with a fabulous final lap. Visser, who left Calgary with a silver and a bronze medal vowed to return in Albertville for a gold medal. After 1989, Visser spent time on his education, training to become a commercial pilot. At the 1992 Games, Visser won an unexpected medal in the 5000 m, but he had set his sights on the 1500 m. Again, he was narrowly defeated, with Koss beating him by 0.09 seconds. Immensely disappointed with the result of his last race, Visser gave away his skates by throwing them into the audience. Apart from these prizes, Visser won three more medals at European Championships and was runner-up at the World Championships in 1988. In Dutch Championships, he took the allround title in 1988, 1989 and 1991, and won four distance titles. Visser also won five World Cup races (all in 5000 m) and finished second in the 5k/10k season rankings in 1991. In 1987, Leo Visser set two new World Records (3000 m and 5000 m). Since retiring, Visser has worked as a pilot for KLM. In 2002, he also acted as the chef de mission for the Dutch team at the Salt Lake Winter Olympics. He is married to fellow Olympic skater Sandra Voetelink, who later enjoyed a brief television career.

Personal Bests: 500 – 38.65 (1992); 1000 – 1:16.21 (1992); 1500 – 1:54.65 (1990); 5000 – 6:44.98 (1988); 10000 – 13:58.47 (1988).


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1988 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) NED Leo Visser
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 2 Silver
10,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
1992 Winter Olympics Speed Skating (Skating) NED Leo Visser
1,500 metres, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze
5,000 metres, Men (Olympic) 3 Bronze

Olympic Records

Records may have been broken subsequently during the same competition.
Games Date Sport Event Phase Mark Pos
1988 Winter Olympics 17 February 1988 Speed Skating (Skating) 5,000 metres, Men Final Standings 6:44.98 2
1988 Winter Olympics 21 February 1988 Speed Skating (Skating) 10,000 metres, Men Final Standings 14:00.55 3

Other participations

Games Role NOC As
1992 Winter Olympics Flagbearer at the Opening Ceremony NED Leo Visser

Olympic family relations

Special Notes