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Biggest ever Dutch Winter Olympic team to Sochi

Updated: 2014-01-03 10:54
( Xinhua)

THE HAGUE - The Dutch team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi was officially unveiled during a presentation ceremony in Papendal on Thursday.

"We are a team of 41 Olympic athletes," said Chef de Mission Maurits Hendriks. "This is more than ever in the Dutch history of the Winter Games, while we selected incredibly strict."

Four years ago in Vancouver the squad consisted of 36 athletes.

"But the real test is yet to come," added Hendriks. "Keep doing what you're good at that, no last-minute changes. The Olympics are wonderful, very special, but hectic. There will be issues, also social issues. Just stay focused."

The group consists of 20 speed skaters, traditionally the specialty of the Netherlands. The delegation of 41 athletes in total is not yet final and could be expanded with some snowboarders, biathletes or ski jumpers.

Chef de Mission Hendriks had already indicated the aim in Sochi was nine medals, one more than at the Games in Vancouver. Four years ago the Netherlands grabbed four golds, one silver and three bronze medals. Skaters Mark Tuitert (1500 meters men), Ireen Wust (1500 meters women), Sven Kramer (5000 meters men) and snowboarder Nicolien Sauerbreij (parallel giant slalom) became Olympic champions.