In 2013, I started collaborating with Hollands best Modern Pentathlete (an Olympic discipline with swimming, fencing, horse back riding, running and shooting on 1 day). It was a challenge to convert the elite sporter’s ideas into products and services for education and companies. In his world of performance sports I heard often about an ultimate goal: the Games.

It made me curious, what is that Olympic feeling? I was thinking about how to qualify for the games, not as an athlete and without a professional background in sports industry. At that moment the games called for volunteers. In October 2014 I signed up and made my first step to the Olympic and Paralympic Games of Rio de Janeiro. First to support some befriended elite athletes and do something for the event too.

In 1,5 year a lot has changed. When I signed up as a volunteer I had yet quited my wine import company, was owner of a media production company and chairman of the Dutch organizations for hard of hearing youth. Now I’m learning and developping myself in the Sports Leadership Program.

The Sports Leadership Program  not only brought me a lot of in-dept knowledge, but also time to think about my personal motivation and choices. It’s confronting. Now, I’m more consious about my weak points in the things I have done. I realise that I’ve failed sometimes. And that it hurts if something don’t worked out as planned or dreamed. I learned that my strongest characteristics also hinder me to process this experiences. My stress resistance and pragmatism simply do not offer space for failing and pain!

Now I’ve gained more insight in my motivations. This makes me more thoughtful, more decisive and more accurate in the things I want to do (many thanks to Bas Kodden). I will be voluntering as a NOC / NPC assistent for almost two months at the Games. And I will find my new job where I can ‘turn the spotlight on heroes’. The development of personal leadership is worth a lot in the Sports Leadership Program.

Team Rio 2016 writes in her letters to volunteers: “We’re counting on you.” Because of the choices now I can excel at the games. The can counting on me!




In my next blog I will be writing more about my volunteers journey to Rio 2016. Can we make a translation from fan engagement to volunteers engagement? What does it mean to be a volunteer in the most important sports event of the world? Brazilian athletes are looking forward to our visit, when locals somethings aks you why we really want to visit this inferno.

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