Ferry Weertman won Olympic gold in the men’s 10 km open water swimming competition after touching out Greece’s Spiros Gianniotis in a fantastic sprint to the finish in Rio. Bp2017 Media has asked the 24-year-old Dutch athlete about his emotions two months after his heroic win.
Bp2017 Media: How were the reactions of the Dutch people and the media after your win in Rio? Have you become a real star in your country?
Ferry Weertman: Everybody was very happy for me and they all liked watching the open water race. So hopefully they're going to watch the World Championships as well. But I have not really become a star in Holland, because we don't idolise people here. So I can still walk the street without having to take a picture with everybody.
Bp2017: Of course I know that you had won a couple of gold medals in the European Championships before, but do you agree that the Olympic gold is another kind of dimension?
F.W.: The Olympics is the biggest sport event of the world. Also it's the main goal of every swimmer to win the gold there. Plus qualifying for the Games is really difficult in the open water. This makes it extra special to even start in the open water race, which only has 25 spots. And winning the gold in Rio was magical, this has been a dream ever since I was a little kid.
Bp2017: Have you expected a double Dutch win in the open water swimming events in Rio? I can imagine how proud you can be!
F.W.: I knew we were both contenders for the gold, but at the Olympics anything can happen. And after seeing Sharon win I knew it was possible for me as well.
Bp2017: What’s next for you this year and then in 2017?
F.W.: This year will mostly be about getting back in shape and maybe I can qualify for the Worlds short course on the 4x200. The qualification is in a few weeks, so it will be difficult. 2017 will mostly be about the World Championships in Budapest and how to be in the best possible shape there.
Bp2017: What do you expect from the 2017 WCH in Hungary? Have you ever been to Balatonfüred, the scene of the open water swimming events? Do you plan to go there before the World Champs?
F.W.: I have never been to Hungary. But I've heard it's a beautiful country and everybody likes the swimming World Cup at the Balaton.
Photo - ferryweertman.nl