Ab Krook©Soenar Chamid
Famous Speed Skating coach Ab Krook has died due to a stroke at the age of 76 on Tuesday 13 October. As the national coach of the Dutch Men and Ladies and the West-German team in the 1980s and 1990s, Krook was a household name in International Speed Skating.
Olympic gold with Ladies
Annie Borckink and Ria Visser at the Winter Olympic Games 1980©AFP
Krook started his career as an International Speed Skating coach when he took charge of the Dutch national Ladies’ squad in 1977. He led Dutch Annie Borckink and Ria Visser to Olympic gold and silver medals respectively at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid, USA.
Between 1981 and 1988 Krook coached the national team of West-Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany/West Germany and the German Democratic Republic/East-Germany were separate countries at the time), and in 1988 he returned to the Netherlands to coach the Dutch national men’s team.
Succes with Dutch men
Bart Veldkamp at the Winter Olympic Games 1992©Getty Images
Krook led Leo Visser (1989) and Falco Zandstra (1993) to ISU World Allround Speed Skating titles and coached Bart Veldkamp, when he took gold in the 10,000m at the Olympic Games of 1992 in Albertville. From 1996 to 2006 Krook served the Dutch Speed Skating Federation as top sports coordinator and he finished his long and prolific coaching career, when he guided Bob de Jong to Olympic gold in the 10,000m in Torino in 2006.
Ab Krook als inspirator, stond als coach op de baan tijdens mijn Olympische gouden race. Smokkelde met de ronde tijd, omdat het kon. Ab betekende in mijn gehele carrière veel voor mij. Ineke heel veel sterkte. pic.twitter.com/NaB2gkjnzu— Bob de Jong 🇳🇱 (@DeJongBob) October 15, 2020
In 2018 Krook suffered a stroke, but he recovered well, only to be struck a second time recently. Krook was an honorable member of the Dutch Speed Skating Federation KNSB and decorated with the Dutch royal award ‘Officier in de Orde van Oranje-Nassau’.
The KNSB honored the legendary coach in a statement by director Herman de Haan: “The Speed Skating world loses an inspired professional. Ab was very much involved with Speed Skating and he was a knowledgeable, even after his retirement.”
Many Dutch Speed Skaters and coaches have shared their compassion in social media:
Dat markante, vertrouwde gezicht langs de ijsbaan. De vraagbaak. De geruststeller. Met Ab aan je zijde wist je zeker dat je je geen zorgen hoefde te maken. Zijn kennis. Zijn bevlogenheid. En dat grote schaatshart. Ab Krook, voor altijd verbonden aan het Nederlandse schaatsen.— erben wennemars (@erbenwennemars) October 15, 2020
Rust zacht Ab Krook.— Koen Verweij (@verweijkoen) October 15, 2020
Bedankt voor alle mooie herinneringen samen! 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/n9HAnqFogk
Topsport mens in hart en nieren die ontzettend veel voor de schaatssport betekend heeft. Ik wens de nabestaanden veel sterkte met dit grote verlies. RIP https://t.co/NKOOhbMQ1Z— Jac Orie (@JacOrie) October 15, 2020
The ISU shares its heartfelt condolences with his family and friends in the skating community.