With Van Ruijven in their panther heart, short trackers ride in Thialf again

For the first time since the death of their friend, teammate and training buddy Lara van Ruijven on July 10, the short trackers were back on the ice of Thialf, where pictures and the famous panther heart keep the thoughts of her alive.

“Lara is still everywhere. When you enter the stadium, her pictures are there. And I hurt myself with my screen saver. When I turn on my phone, I see Lara,” says coach Jeroen Otter.

“You can see her panther heart on the screen. Lara is in our heads all the time,” adds Suzanne Schulting. “But in the end, skating is also an outlet. You can change your mind, that’s nice too.”

Hair last round

Lately the short trackers have experienced as a roller coaster. After fate struck during a training camp in the French town of Font Romeu, the defeated shorttrackers returned home. Last Wednesday they said goodbye to Van Ruijven, with a last tribute in Thialf.

Look in the video below at how hundreds of loved ones paid a last tribute to Lara van Ruijven on Wednesday.

On Wednesday the short trackers paid a special tribute to Van Ruijven, but the team has even more in mind: the World Cup in Rotterdam in 2021.

“We want to show ourselves there as a team for Lara”, says Schulting. “As a kind of tribute on our behalf. That would have been the best she could have found.”