When Irene Schouten superfan Petra arrives in the Maldives, her phone explodes

Just when Petra Zwaan was on the plane that took her to the Maldives, Irene Schouten announced that she was quitting as a skater. The Medemblik team is one of her biggest fans and mourns Schouten’s farewell, but also finds it understandable that the three-time Olympic champion chooses a different life. “Of course I’m proud of her!”

When Petra (61) set foot on the tropical archipelago yesterday, her phone immediately exploded. “The messages just kept pouring in. I quickly turned off the sound, because everyone was looking at me.” It breaking news Schouten’s retirement also reached superfan Petra, who also knows the skating star from Hoogkarspel personally. “It came as a bit of a bolt from the blue. I think it’s a shame, but I understand it. She longs for a different life and has won everything there is to win. What else do you have to do?”

‘Great to experience’

As an employee of the gas station in Wervershoof, she came into contact with the Schouten family years ago. “Her mother and brothers always came there to refuel. And I have been a skating enthusiast since the time of Yvonne van Gennip, so we often talked about that. So our bond has grown little by little. If you like skating and someone If you know someone who is so successful, then that is great to experience.”

Black is also the driving force behind Schouten’s fan account on Facebook, which now has 1,200 members. She shares competition images, interviews and photos. Actually everything. “Someone else set up the channel at some point, but I post most of it on it. Because I enjoy doing it and the reactions are always positive. A black hole? Are you crazy. If I really don’t know what to do anymore, I can “I always come to peel bulbs at the family business,” her brother Simon always says. “But it’s a shame that she’s quitting, of course.”

She saw Schouten become world champion in the ice temple Thialf and celebrated many other highlights on television. “Am I proud? Of course! Everyone doesn’t?! Because she always keeps going. Irene is a consummate sportswoman. That’s why I don’t believe she will stop exercising completely. If there is an Elfstedentocht next year, she will be there at the front, you know. Just pay attention.”

She notices that the farewell affects her. “I got emotional when she won the mass start at the World Championships last weekend, but I also got emotional when I saw this news. In that respect, I’m sorry to be here. But I’ll see and talk to her again soon. If When I get home again, I will quickly send flowers to Hoogkarspel.”