Name: Maarten van der Weijden
Born: 31-03-1981, Alkmaar
Education: Bachelor Wiskunde
Former sport: Open Water Zwemmen (5, 10 en 25km)
Former coach: Marcel Wouda
Current job: Entrepeneur (motivational speaker, swimmer, health care consultant)
Volunteer at: Dutch Cancer Foundation (‘Samenloop voor Hoop’ & ‘Swim to Fight Cancer’)
As a young boy, Maarten challenged himself by setting out obstacle courses which he tried to complete as quickly as possible. Maarten experienced at a young age that investing time and making a great effort leads to success. These positive experiences helped him when he started to swim more often and began to break Dutch records.
In 2001, Maarten was diagnosed with cancer (leukaemia) and his chances for recovery were very small. At this point, Maarten had little control over his life and he depended on the medical specialists to become better. Because of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplantation, Maarten was lucky to recover and started to swim again.
By training hard and thinking a lot about his tactics, Maarten improved himself as a professional swimmer and became Olympic Champion at the Olympic Games of Beijing (Open Water Swimming, 10km). Maarten soon realized he had achieved his personal best in sports, retired from swimming and started looking for new goals. After writing his own biography (Better, 2009) and a successful career at Unilever as a finance manager (2010-2015), Maarten is now an entrepreneur and focussing on health care, sports and business.