Wim den Elsen
Born in: I was born in Zoeterwoude, it's a village in Zuid Holland. I went to school there when I was young, and then to high school in Leiden. I still live in Zoeterwoude now.
Family and friends: I am a widow and I have one daughter.
Religion: I am a Catholic.
Schooling: After high school I went to UTS, a technical school to study building construction in Leiden. Then I went for 3 years to MSG (Mathesis Genetrix Scientiarum), also in Leiden. After that I did organization and planning, and then Concrete technology. Then the study of coordination of organizations. Between all of this I studied sport to be a trainer.
Hobbies: I like to travel. One week each year I like to do a trip for culture, to Rome, or Barcelona, or somewhere like that. I also like to go for a walk in nature, go fishing sometimes. I spend a lot of time with friends.
Other sports: I speed skated, I like cycling, I did athletics, karate, and tae-kwon do when I was in school. I was also in hand ball and baseball. I really enjoy skiing and windsurfing.
10 personal questions
What can make you sad in life and how do you handle that?
I am not sad very quickly, I am mostly very positive. One thing I regret is what happened with my knee, that I couldn't be the person that I always was before it. It ended my career in skating.
Can you share a situation with us in which you can be very shy?
Perhaps I am shy. People say that I am not, but I think that I can be a little shy sometimes.
If you could change your life, which person would you like to be for one day? Why?
I don't want to be another person, I'm satisfied with myself.
Is there something that you often dream of achieving?
Sometimes I think that I hope that my skaters do well, but I don't dream so much about things since I was young.
What is your biggest motivation in life?
I always want to do things as well as possible. I think you should always do things as well as possible, and it is never good enough.
What is your biggest worry for the future?
Sometimes I am a bit worried about what is happening in Europe with the economic crisis, but mostly I don't worry so much.
Is there a motto in your life that will 'keep you going'?
"People who are stopping never win, and winners never stop.
Is there anything in your life where you are the most proud of?
I don't regret anything that I have done in my life, but I'm not necessarily proud of things, but I'm satisfied.
If there was one part of yourself that you could change, what would it be?
The only thing that I would change about myself, would be that I never broke my knee.
Favourites and Bests
What do you eat for recovery, and what are your favourite foods?
I think that the skaters should have certain amounts of protein and carbohydrates, depending on their bodyweight. And they should drink a lot of water or sports drinks. I am a very easy eater, I eat everything except tripe. I like everything.
Favourite Movie: I don't watch movies very often. I like old movies like Ben-Hur, Sparticus. I don't like police or detective movies.
Favourite Music: I don't have a favourite music but I like classic, beat, soul. Sometimes I also follow music from different countries.
Favourite Book: I like to read heavy books, philosophical books like Jung, Rudolph Steiner.
Favourite Car: Right now I have an Audi, but I always buy a car that I can afford, but it has to be a good car that I can drive a lot.
Favourite Country: I think that Germany and Holland are my favourite countries to live in, because the standard of living is good Best compliment: People have said to me that they have respect for me for what I have done, but for me it was just normal.
Best memory: I have many good memories in my life.
Best way to 'dress to impress': I always dress for the circumstances that I am going to. In my free time I wear jeans.
Best person to be stuck on a deserted island with: My girlfriend.
Favourite Speed Skater: When I was young I liked Kees Verkerk, he was a very good technical skater. Now there are many skaters who are very good.
Favourite Athlete in another sport: I have no special favourites, but I like to watch good athletes in cycling, boxing, judo, skiing, football, and athletics.
Favourite Ice Rink: I like lots of ice rinks. I like Inzell, Erfurt and Berlin because the quality of the ice is very good for training, and the accommodations are good for every athlete, and the people are very nice who are working there.
I had several coaches when I was young. My first coach was Kees Dekker, but he died very young. Then I had several good coaches: Jan de Vries, Jan Pasman, and Michel Piens in Belgium, and Feike Neef, and then after that I coached myself.
What was your first important speed skating event and how did you race?
It was in Short Track, the open Dutch. We skated with my club team against the national teams of the other countries. We beat them all!
Are there any highlights in your career that are the most special for you?
When I was a short track coach I had athletes that won every important competition in Europe. I have many many skaters that went to national teams, I think more than 40 in my life. In 2003/2004 I was a kind of interim coach for Bob de Jong, Ralf van der Rijst, and Hellen Van Goozen. The last one was Kjeld Nuis, and from the juniors the last few years were Frank Hermans and Tom Van Beek.
What would you like to develop in your speed skaters?
I think that you have to develop their mentality, they have to learn two parts: 1) they have to be very hard disciplined; and 2) to have good personal management, and to be able to handle disappointment. The other thing for speed skating is that you have to take care of the technical skating to be as fast as others.
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Wim Den Elsen
Eye colour: blue
Shoe Size: 40.5