Exclusive Interview with Kees-Jan van der Klooster
The ONLY Dutch Participant at The 2010 Paralympics
Kees-Jan van der Klooster will represent The Netherlands at the 2010 Paralympics and will be the only Dutch participant present. But K-J has really impressed his team, because in the 2006 Winter Paralympics there were no Dutch participants at all. As I know K-J, I asked him for an interview. K-J agreed and we did this interview in early March 2010 just days before the start of the Winter Olympics and just after skiing at the world cup in Aspen.
Kees-Jan is a relaxed and friendly guy. Very nice to spend time with. This Dutch commercial (For some people sport is essential) featuring K-J will give a good idea of his personality. He is a bit of a smart-ass, a bit of a jokester, and a very nice guy as you will see here:
Gene: Tell us a few words about the events you will be participating in and please say a few words to describe how they are different. Do you have your favorite?
K-J: I will compete in Giant Slalom, Super G and my favorite downhill. Giant Slalom is a tech event and Super G and downhill are speed events.
Gene: There were no participants from The Netherlands in 2006. You are the only representative from the Netherlands in 2010. How does that feel?
K-J: Of course it is a pity that there aren't anymore athletes, the Dutch Olympic committee has high standards to qualify for the games. I hope our team will have more team members in 2014.
Gene: Do you feel like you have the eyes of your country on you?
K-J: Since I am the only one competing for my country a lot of media attention comes towards me. It does not make me nervous. I try to use this attention to promote my sport. I hope it helps to encourage more disabled in my country to go in to winter sports.
Gene: The Paralympics start in a couple of days. How do you feel right now? Are you nervous?
K-J: On Wednesday I will have my first downhill training. I am not really nervous and I try to approach all my races as all other races during the season.
Gene: Is this one of the most important events of your life? Or do you feel like you are preparing for just another competition?
K-J: It is definitely an important and special moment in my life but certainly not the most important one.
Gene: If you had to bet on the big winners of 2010 who would you bet on?
K-J: There are like 12 racers who have chance for a medal, me included on downhill, but if i have to make a bet, i would put some money on Martin Braxentaler from Germany.
Gene: Tell us something about the preparations for the Paralympics. Was it a lot of stress?
K-J: During the season I still had to qualify for the Paralympics. In December I was already qualified on GS so that was quite a relief. Later on I was placed 6th in the world cup downhill in Sestriere, enough to qualify also for the speed events.
Gene: Tell us about the process of getting selected to be in the Paralympics.
K-J: In Holland they have pretty high standards, i had to be top 3 in Eurocup or top 6 in the world cup to qualify.
Gene: If someone was going to start today to be in the Paralympics 2014, what steps do they have to do?
K-J: Train his ass of and make sure he has a strong team of coaches and techs surrounding him. Skiing is a real professional sport now a days.
Gene: What is the best thing about being in the Paralympics? What is the worst?
K-J: The best is the atmosphere with all the athletes, the worst are a lot of rules and regulations.
Gene: There could be better awareness of the Paralympics, what could be done to improve worldwide awareness of the Paralympics and the Paralympic Athletes?
K-J: Just broadcast more on national TV and show only the highest levels of the sports
Read more about Kees-Jan van der Klooster on his English language website which is complete action videos and photo galleries.