Pieter van Hoogenband is proud of the Dutch Olympians in Tokyo and the record number of 36 medals, but he is also critical of his own performance.

The chef de mission believes that he should have communicated better about the corona cases in the first days of the Games.

"After a few days we held a press conference here in Tokyo and it is clear that it was not my best press conference ever," said Van den Hoogenband on Sunday at a closing press moment of the Dutch team.

"At that press conference I tried to help the team further and to inform the Netherlands. But I underestimated that the corona cases were the most pressing issue at that time."

In total, four Dutch athletes tested positive in Tokyo.

These were skateboarder Candy Jacobs, taekwondoka Reshmie Oogink, rower Finn Florijn and tennis player Jean-Julien Rojer, while several people from the support team were also found to be infected.

Many of them were on the same flight to Japan, but Van den Hoogenband is not yet sure what went wrong.

"We now know that things went wrong on that travel day, but we are still looking into that. Also to ensure that things cannot go wrong again in the future."

Pieter van den Hoogenband (left) in the stands during the Games.

Pieter van den Hoogenband (left) in the stands during the Games.

Photo: Pro Shots

'I had moist eyes'

Van den Hoogenband, who experienced his first Games as chef de mission, emphasized that strict measures were immediately taken within the Dutch team.

"As a result, we were able to protect the team. In the end it turned out reasonably well, but it was a tough period."

Especially after Jacobs, who was the first Dutch athlete to test positive, Van den Hoogenband had a hard time. "I sat on a bench for a while and looked over the water with damp. I felt the pain of a sportswomen who had done everything to excel in Tokyo, but couldn't now. I was sad. Those are the lesser moments of the past few weeks. The achievements and the medals are now predominant, but as chef de mission I am responsible for everything."

When it comes to the successes in Tokyo, the 34-year-old former swimmer, who himself became an Olympic champion three times, prefers to point to the athletes and the coaches.

"They earned the medals. I only made a contribution to the organization, which allowed athletes to excel. I am proud of them. And as far as I have been able to get it, the people in the Netherlands are too. Because of the breadth and The diversity of our team has broken records. They have made the Games in Tokyo a success."

See also: The Netherlands scores highest ranking ever in medal level with seventh place

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