Former Olympic figure skater Joan Haanappel (83) passed away | Sport

Former Olympic figure skater Joan Haanappel (83) passed away | Sport
Former Olympic figure skater Joan Haanappel (83) passed away | Sport

Former figure skater Joan Haanappel has died at the age of 83 in a hospital in Leuven, Belgium. The Netherlands Figure Skating Foundation, which she founded, has confirmed this. Haanappel, together with Olympic champion Sjoukje Dijkstra, is considered the best figure skater the Netherlands has ever had.

Haanappel won three bronze medals at European Championships in the 1950s and twice competed in the Olympic Games, where she finished thirteenth (1956) and fifth (1960).

After her fifth place at the 1960 World Championships, she decided to end her career. Haanappel joined the Wiener IJsrevue and later Holiday on Ice. Later she worked as a commentator and reporter for NOS, AVRO, ZDF and Eurosport. Haanappel, born in The Hague, had lived with her husband in Wezembeek-Oppen, near Brussels, for years.

Joan Haanappel training for Holiday on Ice in 1956 (left and right). In the middle: Joan during a training in 1959. © ANP

In November 2008, Haanappel was appointed Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau. In the same year she founded the Netherlands Figure Skating Foundation with the aim of promoting the sport she loves in the Netherlands again. She was assisted by her friend and former fellow skater Dijkstra, the 1964 Olympic champion.

With her foundation, Haanappel helped young figure skaters to develop. There was not much money, but with contributions from enthusiasts, some sponsors and the De Uithof ice rink in The Hague, she was able to organize a training camp four times a year. Renowned foreign trainers and choreographers repeatedly came to The Hague to teach the Dutch talents she had selected together with Dijkstra. It ultimately resulted in the Olympic participation of Lindsay van Zundert from Brabant at the Beijing Winter Games.

‘Everyone will miss her’

“Everyone involved with SKN will miss Joan enormously,” the foundation said in a press release. “For her it was about the children, their dreams and about letting top talent in figure skating shine forever. We will forever honor her great contribution to figure skating and continue her legacy and the Netherlands Figure Skating Foundation with conviction and determination.”

Also read
• View the skating calendar for the 2023/2024 season here

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The article is in Dutch


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