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).