Pieter van den Hoogenband is looking forward to his new role as chef de mission of the Dutch Olympic team. "I think it's fantastic that I can serve the sport like that," he said Tuesday in the television program De Wereld Draait Door.
"I am going to give everything to let my athletes in Tokyo excel so that they can achieve a performance that we can all be proud of."
'It felt good'
His predecessor Maurits Hendriks, technical director of NOC * NSF, approached him after the former swimmer in 2013 had been director of the European Youth Olympic Festival in Utrecht and chef de mission at the same event two years later in the Georgian capital Tblisi.
READ ALSO: Pieter van den Hoogenband is chef de mission during Tokyo Olympic Games 2020
"I stopped ten years ago and then took a step back. But I really enjoyed being involved with the youth. When Maurits asked me it felt good, because it's all about sport. ''
Van den Hoogenband realizes that he can also deal with difficult things in his job. After the Rio Games in 2016, there was much to do for the so-called 'losers flight' with athletes who had been eliminated prematurely. Van den Hoogenband hopes that such things will no longer happen under his leadership.
Goal in Tokyo
"The IOC may also go to a policy that sportsmen who are ready to go home because there are too few beds. But I think it is really worthless that the athletes of that flight have left a feeling of humor about the Games in this way. If it is possible I want to keep my entire team together until the end. ''
Van den Hoogenband also has a nice goal for Tokyo. "I myself have experienced the most successful summer games of a Dutch team in Sydney. Why should we not be able to improve the record, that's what we're going for. ''