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A farewell to 2 of our greatest champions, a deserved and dignified send off

Peter King

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35 year old Ireen Wust, 6 time winner of Olympic gold medals, 7 time world all round champion and 15 gold medals at the world distance championships (plus a boatload of other gold, silver and bronze medals, , European champion several times over and Dutch champion) and Sven Kramer, also 35, 4 time Olympic gold winner, 9 time winner of the world championship all round and 21 gold medal winner at the world distance championships (plus also a boatload of other gold/silver and bronze medals, European champion several times over and Dutch champion) said farewell today.

The 2 champions were heralded during a celebration at the Dutch national skate track by our prime minister, IOC president called them "true legends" and said he was going to give them a memorial medal from the Beijing Olympics. The president of the Dutch Skating association awarded them a life time achievement award and named them as Honorary members of the Dutch Skating Association.

Kramer was awarded the title of officer in the Order of Oranje-Nassau this morning and after Wust returned from Beijing she was already named commander in the order of Oranje-Nassau. All the family members of Wust and Kramer were in attendance as well as our King Willem Alexander, himself a good speed skater (having completed the 11 city tour) and his daughter and next Queen Amalia were present too. Willem Alexander and his daughters are big fans of Wust and Kramer.

And in one of the greatest speed skating temples in the world they were also honored to have 2 corners named in honor of them.

Ireen Wust, was honored that the King had attended, she had invited him when the Olympic Athletes returned from Beijing and were at the Royal palace.

After all of this they skated a final lap around the Thialf skate ring under an ovation from the crowd.

 
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