The Netherlands has been participating in the Winter Olympics since 1928, but didn’t win their first gold almost 40 years later.

In 1964, Sjoukje Dijkstra finished first in ladies’ figure skating.

27th January 1964: Dutch skater Sjoukje Dijkstra talks to two policemen during a break in her training for the ladies figure skating event at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck. The policemen are wearing badges telling people what languages theyare fluent in. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

Dutch athletes have found the most Olympic success in speed skating, amassing 82 medals in total. Ard Schenk left the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo with three gold medals around his neck (1500-metre, 5000-metre, 10000-metre). He had previously won silver in 1968.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 1: Dutch speed skater Ard Schenk smiles in April 1972 while displaying his three gold medals won at the Winter Olympics in February 1972 in Sapporo (Japan). Ard Schenk won the 1500m, 5000m and the 10.000m. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

Yvonne van Gennip had an unforgettable showing in 1988, where she won three speed skating gold medals to make one of the most successful athletes at the Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Dutch Yvonne Van Gennip skates around a curve on her way to the gold medal in the women's 3000m speed skating event, 23 February 1988 in Calgary, at the Winter Olympic Games. Van Gennip won the Olympic title in front of East Germans Andrea Ehrig (silver medal) and Gabi Zange (bronze). AFP PHOTO/STAFF (Photo credit should read STAFF/AFP/Getty Images)

More recently, speed skater Sven Kramer has become a popular sports figure in Netherlands after his 5000-metre victory in 2010. The 27-year-old has four medals after participating in two Olympic Games.

Speed Skating: 2010 Winter Olympics: Netherlands Sven Kramer in action during Men's 5000M at Richmond Olympic Oval. Kramer won gold. Richmond, Canada 2/13/2010 CREDIT: David E. Klutho (Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images) (Set Number: X83603 TK4 R3 F182 )

About Sandra Prusina

Sandra is a sports journalist based out of Calgary, Canada. She's covered three Olympic Games, as well as other sporting events across Canada.

You can follow her on Twitter at @sprusina

 

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