Series: Olympic Games

En route to Paris: Roos de Jong

In July, the Olympic Games will be held in Paris. TU Delft top athletes are ready to compete. What are their lives like and are they ready? Part 7: rower Roos de Jong.

(Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

One year ago you and Laila Youssifou were preparing to go to the Olympic Games in the double scull. Now you will compete in the double four in Paris. What was that change like?

“You work every day to achieve your goals and dreams, which for us was to win gold in the double scull. When the head coach decided to change the set-up of the boat, it felt a bit like your dream was taken away. You had to build a connection with your new team quickly, learn to trust each other and work towards a new goal which was to win in a double four. It was challenging, but Laila and I supported each other a lot at the beginning. The four of us are now a good team.”

Is this the best possible boat composition?

“I hope so! Our teammates Bente Paulis and Tessa Dullemans are explosive rowers. They start fast and sprint at the end. Laila and I are good at rowing a steady race. By combining our strengths, I think that we can row the two kilometres very fast.”

Laila and Tessa are also TU Delft students. This makes the double four a ‘TU Delft’ boat. What is that like?

“It’s really special and it’s also a happy coincidence – or maybe not a coincidence – that we are together in one boat. We enjoy doing creative things together, like knitting and crocheting. Tessa and I are now making a bag from recycled plastic bottles.”

‘My life at present really only consists of training and recovering’

What you think your chances at a medal are?

“We won silver at the last World Championships. I am confident that we can go for gold, but there is strong competition and we are well matched.”

These are your second Games. What are you looking forward to the most?

“The last Games in Tokyo were really crazy because of the Covid restrictions, and it was quite stressful. Both my coaches got infected at the tournament and had to leave the event. My teammate Laila and I were really scared that we would also test positive. We spent most of the time in our hotel room so I’m really looking forward to my family, friends and club members being there this time. We work so long for that moment, and sharing it with them is so special.”

You will not stay at the Olympic village during the Games, but at a location close to the rowing area. How can you ensure that you still get something of that Olympic feeling?

“It is a shame that we are not sleeping in the Olympic village as that is what makes the Games so special. At the same time, it is good not to have too many distractions during the tournament. The rowing tournament is right in the first week and I will be in Paris right through to the closing ceremony. So there will be enough time to see some of the city.”

What will your time in terms of sports and study be like after Paris?

“My life at present really only consists of training and recovering. I worked on my graduation project between September and January, but this has been on hold for a while. After Paris I will first go on holiday. I will resume my graduation project sometime in September so that I can graduate at the end of the first semester. I don’t know yet if I will also row during that period, but I like doing sports every day. I also signed up for the half marathon in Amsterdam in mid-October as I was afraid of falling into a black hole after the Games. And I would love to go skiing again.”

Who: Roos de Jong
Date of birth: 23 August 1993
Study: Architecture, Urbanism and Building Sciences (master)
Sport: Rowing
Student association: DSR Proteus-Eretes
Team: Dutch rowing team, double four
Position: Third
Status: Boat qualified for Paris

News editor Marjolein van der Veldt

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