“It is very difficult to find words in this situation. Nothing can describe how beautiful Lara is. We have a lot of memories together and we will always cherish them.”
The emotion in Yara van Kerkhof’s voice is palpable. Also Suzanne Schulting and Rianne de Vries struggle. Not surprisingly, because the loss of teammate Lara van Ruijven is unfathomable.
The 27-year-old short track star died Friday night in a hospital in Perpignan from complications of an autoimmune reaction.
The three of them were allowed to say goodbye to Van Ruijven after her death. “Very nice that you can hold her hand for a while. That you can say how much you love her and that you are going to miss her. Then you realize that you will never get her back”, according to a crying Schulting.
But there’s also room for a smile. “Laar was always very cheerful and positive”, says De Vries. “She always whistled, and always the same tune. At one point you think: whistle something else. She was always so sweet.”