Jacques de Koning Sr. - Co-owner J.P. de Koning BV
What is your background?
"I've been plastering my whole life. I represent a family business with my two brothers and my cousin that exists already for 98 years. Founded in 1913 by my grandfather, Jacques de Koning, who was the Dutch allround champion in 1914. He was a brother of Coen de Koning, who won the Elfstedentocht in 1912 and 1917. And my uncle Aad de Koning was second in 1954. My son is a well known sprinter of course, but because of his asthma, he will never work in our family business. And I myself, next to my busy work, have been international referee at ISU tournaments for over 10 years. This season I was the referee for the men at the European Championship in Collalbo, for example."
Is J.P. de Koning BV a specialist company?
"Yes, we are specialised in renovations and restorations. We do a lot of monumental buildings, say the more difficult and delicate work. The installation and repair of ornaments is a specialization that distinguishes us, although we also do simple plastering. For example, we have renovated the Winter Garden at the Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam, where we have provided the facades of ornaments and moldings. That is a job that can give you a lot of honor."
What contribution have you made to the KIA Speed Skating Academy?
"Well, it certainly was difficult at first. My heart beats for skating. I am active in this sport longer than Marnix. He once came to me at the kitchen table and asked if I could help him. This is a family business and it is not that easy to do such a thing, because I am also on the road a lot for the ISU in winter. But my brothers have their hobbies in summer, so we all give and take something. So at the end of October 2010, I have been plastering for about eight days and a few days in December as well. It was difficult, because there were about 40 ornaments and 500 meters of moldings to be made. These moldings are pure luxury. That is only a minor contribution to the success of this project, because the skaters will not go a fraction of a second faster through it."
Why have you participated in it?
"Marnix is a stubborn survivor of course, goes all the way if necessary. I really did not immediately say yes. But I am certain that the skating world should do something for the internationalisation of the sport. Otherwise it will forever be decided between Dutch skaters, Koreans, Canadians and Americans, and sometimes in between an Italian or Czech. The small countries need structural help. The KIA Speed Skating Academy is a good beginning of this globalization and professionalization. The opening is just the beginning. The building may be ready then, but after that it needs to succeed. And that's no easy task."