Dutch athletes who won medals at the Rio Olympics 2016 at the Ministry of General Affairs in The Hague, 24 Aug 2016 (Photo: @TeamNLtweets/Twitter) - Credit: Dutch athletes who won medals at the Rio Olympics 2016 at the Ministry of General Affairs in The Hague, 24 Aug 2016 (Photo: @TeamNLtweets/Twitter)
Wednesday, 24 August 2016 - 16:10
Dutch PM personally congratulates Olympic medalists
On Wednesday afternoon the Dutch athletes who won medals at the Olympic Games gathered at the Ministry of General Affairs where they were personally congratulated by Prime Minister Mark Rutte. The medalists were called into the hall one by one, where coaches, family and friends applauded the roof off, according to the Telegraaf. Rutte then took the floor and talked about how "fantastic" it was how often he could call someone to congratulate them on their gold medal. "This was the Games of the women. For the first time more female than male athletes went to the Games. And they won more medals. In 2020 it will be the men who have to break through the glass ceiling", the Prime Minister joked. He also talked about the 10 times a Dutch athlete made it to 4th place, just missing out on a medal. "We will never forget the image of the fallen Epke Zondelrand. And how he finished his practice masterfully. And Churandy Martina. Who missed a medal by 0.01 second, but smiled broadly nevertheless. He is, after me, the happiest man in the Netherlands." Rutte mentioned how he and King Willem-Alexander cycled through the Olympic village, to celebrate the Netherlands as a cycling country. "I believe he still hit someone, but I must keep it secret. That was a joke..." Minister Edith Schippers of Sports, NOC*NSF chairman Andre Bolhuis and chef de mission Maurits Hendriks were also there to congratulate the athletes on their splendid performance. Afterwards the athletes got on bicycles and cycled to Palace Noordeinde, where King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima met them for tee.