Marleen Veldhuis is a former Dutch Olympic swimmer who won 4 Olympic medals at three consecutive Olympic games (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012).
In her childhood, Marleen was active in swimming and played waterpolo. She was never a promising swimming talent. At age 17, she decided to quit swimming and focus on her studies and playing waterpolo. Swimming, however, stayed on her mind and after a year she decided to continue swimming. She changed coaches and clubs, which turned out to be a good decision. She intensified her training regime, which resulted in improving from swimming at regional championships to winning medals at national championships in three years. She also played water polo and in December 2001, she was invited for both national waterpolo team as national swimming team. After three months, she made the swimming team for the European championships in Berlin in 2002. This meant the end of her water polo career and the start of an international swimming career.
In 10 years, she participated in three Olympic games and won 4 Olympic medals. She swam 8 world records and became world champion 8 times. In 2007 she was elected sportswoman of the year in the Netherlands and in 2009 she and her teammates were elected as sportsteam of the year. In 2008 she was knighted in the order of the Dutch Lion, after winning a gold medal in the Beijing Olympics.
In 2010, daughter Hannah was born. After this, her dream to win an individual Olympic medal was still alive and she continued swimming. Combining motherhood with top sports was a challenge but resulted in two more Olympic medals at the London 2012 Olympic games. She won silver in the 4 x100 freestyle relay, and, in the very last race of her swimming career, bronze in the 50 free.
After her retirement, she started working as a strategy consultant in the Netherlands. She also further developed her inspirational speeches and shares her experiences in top sports. Besides this she commentated swimming championships for Dutch Television. In 2014 she moved to one of the most beautiful places in the world: Sydney, Australia.
Date of birth
29 June 1979
Place of birth
Borne | The Netherlands
Married to Camiel
Hannah, Jules, David & Ryk
Master of Science
Industrial Engineering & Management
Master of Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
50, 100 free
50, 100 butterfly
Athens 2004 Olympics
Bronze | 4 x 100 freestyle relay
Beijing 2008 Olympics
Gold | 4 x 100 freestyle relay
London 2012 Olympics
Silver | 4 x 100 freestyle relay
Bronze | 50 freestyle