Former Olympic and world speed skating champion Stein Kaiser died Wednesday night at the age of 84. In 1967, Kaiser was the first Dutch skater to be crowned an all-around world champion. In 1972 she became an Olympic champion in the 3,000m race.
Kaiser was born on May 20, 1938 in Delft. In 1964, when she was twenty-five, she became the champion of the Netherlands in all respects for the first time, the first out of six titles.
She was named Female Athlete of the Year in 1967. That year she won her first two all-round world titles. This title was extended a year later. She won gold in the 3000m and silver in the 1500m at the 1972 Olympics in Sapporo. Four years ago at the Grenoble Games, she won the bronze medal at both distances.
“A big loss for speed skating in the Netherlands,” Hermann de Haan, Director of KNSB on skaken.nl responds to the news. “Steen is an icon of women’s skating who has promoted women’s liberation in the sport through her achievements and who she was. I have fond memories of her. As an eight- and twelve-year-old, I watched her win medals on TV in Grenoble and Sapporo. In black and white.”
After Carrie Geijssen and Ans Schut, who both won gold at Grenoble in 1968, Kaiser was the third Dutch long-track skater to become an Olympic champion. She did this under the name Stien Baas-Kaiser. The 33-year-old South Holland won the 3000m by 6.5 seconds over American Diane Hollum and over 7 seconds over Atje Colin Dillstra.
With Geijssen and Schut, Kaiser had a large share in the development of women’s skating in the Netherlands in the 1960s. With her all-around world title at Deventer in 1967, Kaiser avenged an athlete after being nominated for the Olympics in Innsbruck three years earlier. A year later at the World All-Inclusive Championships in Helsinki, Kaiser led the Dutch podium with Schott in second and Jaysen in third.
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