Erben Wennemars first made the news in 1997. Skating on the then-new clap skates, he became the first skater to beat 1.50 on the 1500 m, although it was not recognized as an official world record. Later that season, Wennemars won a bronze medal a the World Sprint Championships. A candidate for a medal at the Olympics, he was struck by a falling opponent in the 500 m and carried off the ice with a dislocated shoulder. In the years to come, Wennemars established himself as a top sprinter. His first world titles came in 2003, when he won both the 1000 and 1500 m at the World Single Distance Championships. In 2004 and 2005, Wennemars also won the World Sprint title, and added four more distance titles in the 1000 m (2004) and team pursuit (2005, 2007, 2008). In his third Olympics, at Torino, he finally won his first Olympic medals, taking home the bronze in both the 1000 m and the team pursuit. Wennemars qualified for the World Allround championships in 2007, in which he placed a respectable fifth. In World Cup competition, he has won 27 races, winning over 500 m, 1000 m, 1500 m and team pursuit, and won the season’s World Cup over 1000 m four times (2003-2005, 2007) and 1500 m once (2007). A 13-time national champion (3x sprint, 3x 500 m, 6x 1000 m, 1x 1500 m), Erben Wennemars is attempting to qualify for the Vancouver Olympics in what he has designated as his final season. He is married to former television presenter Renate van der Zalm. His younger brother, Freddy, also competes in speed skating on a national level.
Personal Bests: 500 – 34.68 (2005); 1000 – 1:07.33 (2003); 1500 – 1:42.32 (2008); 5000 – 6:28.42 (2006); 10000 – 13:35.67 (2007).