The death of short track star Lara van Ruijven (27) made a deep impression on the skating world. Van Ruijven, world champion at 500 metres, was admitted to a French hospital at the end of June with an autoimmune reaction. This led to serious complications. Friday evening the sad news came that she had died.
Olympic and world champion Suzanne Schulting was obviously broken by the news. “Rest softly dear Lara. You once said to me, in the heatbox, before the start of my European Championship relay final debut, that it would be alright… This is what I said to you 2 weeks ago. But it didn’t work out… I am going to miss you so much dear Laar. I love you
“Dear Lara, I‘m going to miss you so much. For ten years we travelled the world together, sharing successes, but also disappointments. You were always the cheerful and positive person in our team. I will never forget you. Rest softly Lara, you are in our hearts forever,” says Sjinkie Knegt.
Daan Breeuwsma is also completely devastated. “Rest softly dear beautiful Lara. I, we, everyone can’t live without you and yet we have to let you go. Your panther heart will be in our hearts forever. Champion you will be forever.“
“Rest softly, dear Lara. The go-getter, with your unforgettable smile and your dear caring character. I‘m going to miss you so much… forever in my heart”, writes former teammate Jorien ter Mors, who together with Van Ruijven, Schulting and Yara van Kerkhof captured Olympic bronze on the relay at the Pyeongchang Games.
Teammates Rianne de Vries and Yara van Kerkhof let us know that they already miss her very much. “My dearest roomie. I miss you so much! But I take you with me in my heart forever! #PanterLara“, writes De Vries.
“Your laughter, your chatter, your interest, your positive attitude, your will, your naivety, your amazement but above all your presence…. I miss you so much already, dear Laar”, replies Van Kerkhof. “Rest softly #pantherara“
Federal coach Jeroen Otter: huge bang
“What a terrible message we have just received. The loss will be felt in the world of sport”, replies national coach Jeroen Otter. “For this close-knit team it is an enormous blow. We have been missing her in our team for a fortnight now. But today’s news is so definitive and surreal. Terrible.“
Sports umbrella organisation NOC*NSF reacted with great dismay to the death of Van Ruijven. “It is almost impossible to understand what happened to Lara van Ruijven and her loved ones“, says technical director Maurits Hendriks. “I got to know her as a successful young top athlete and a much-loved colleague within the large group of athletes and supervisors of TeamNL“
“The sadness and dejection of her loved ones and everyone who knew her is great“, Hendriks continues. “We wish them much strength in coping with this incomprehensible loss. Let us hold each other and Lara‘s environment firmly and support each other in this difficult time”
Van Ruijven participated with great dedication in both the Winter Games of Sochi 2014 and Pyeongchang 2018, Hendriks says. “In 2018 Lara won bronze in the relay section of the Winter Olympics together with Yara van Kerkhof, Jorien ter Mors and Suzanne Schulting. At the time, the quartet set a world record in the B-final. She also won six medals in the relay at European and World Championships”
“We have had so much sympathy with Lara, her family and the short track team. It’s hard to believe that in the prime of her life she is suddenly being ripped away from us“, says Herman de Haan, director-director of the KNSB. “On behalf of the KNSB I wish Lara‘s friend, family and loved ones much strength in coping with this immense loss
ISU: skating community in shock due to the death of Van Ruijven
The international ice skating union ISU has reacted deeply saddened to the death of short track star Lara van Ruijven on Friday evening in France. Lara was very much loved by her teammates, fellow short trackers and the fans. Tributes from all over the world come in on social media, let the skating club know.
“The ISU is very sad about Lara’s death,” reacts chairman Jan Dijkema. “She had a bright future ahead of her in the short track and the whole ice skating community is in shock and mourning because of this terrible loss. Our thoughts are with the family and we want to express our condolences to Lara’s family, friends and teammates“
Van Ruijven had emerged as one of the greatest talents in Europe in recent years. She was part of the strong relay team of the Netherlands and a brilliant individual sprinter, who was the first Dutch woman ever to win a world title in the 500 metres in Sofia in 2019, writes the ISU.
Compassion Minister Van Ark
Minister Tamara van Ark expressed her condolences to friends and family of Van Ruijven via Twitter.
“What incredibly sad news“, writes Van Ark, who last week succeeded Martin van Rijn as Minister of Medical Care and Sport. “Last year the first Dutch World Shorttrack Champion and at the beginning of this year the European Champion. I wish her friend, family, friends and teammates a lot of strength”