TU Delft top athletes have a chance to compete in the Olympic Games in Japan. What are their lives like and where do they stand? In part 7: rower Roos de Jong.
Roos de Jong: “I dream of gold, but silver or bronze would be fine too.” (Photo: Sam Rentmeester)

TU Delft top athletes have a chance to compete in the Olympic Games in Japan. What are their lives like and where do they stand? In part 7: rower Roos de Jong.

Lees in het Nederlands 

  • Who: Roos de Jong, 23 August 1993 (27 years)
  • Study: Architecture and the Built Environment, master’s
  • Sport: Rowing
  • Club: DSR Proteus-Eretes
  • Team: ANRT (Aegon Nationaal Roei Team), double scull (with Lisa Scheenaard)
  • Position: Bow
  • Status: Boat qualified

You arranged your life for the Games and then they were cancelled last year. How do you stay motivated with all the uncertainties?
“After Lisa and I qualified in the double scull for Tokyo in 2019, the selection was reopened. That was a disappointment. The cancellation followed after that which was then followed by an uncertain period. These were all points in which we had to adapt and adjust our goals. I had to think about my study and about all the sacrifices and whether it was all worth it. But I love rowing. I had invested 10 years in it and did not want to stop. We have rowed together since 2017. We saw progress so we want to finish the project. It took a lot to get the motivation to get going again.”

Were you able to work on your Architecture and the Built Environment studies at all?
“I wanted to focus entirely on the Games from summer 2019 onwards. That turned into two years. I wanted to be able to give a graduation project my full attention. It was a hard decision but I believed that I can graduate anytime.”

‘It feels good to not be continuously together all the time’

How did the corona crisis affect your training?
“We could train outdoors alone so I rowed a lot in the skiff, the one person boat. And we could cycle. I did power training and ergometer training with material from the weights on the Bosbaan. The ergometer is still at home. It feels good to not be continuously together all the time, like usual. That was new.”

You have been in the double scull again since September 2020. How does such an intense collaboration feel? 
Being together in the boat after the selections feels familiar and trusted. I get on well with Lisa, though we are different of course. We share the same dream, but along the way each of us has to face our own obstacles. You need to be open and honest with each other and if there are only two of you, it can get personal sometimes. We grew into our roles.”

You were fourth at the European Championships. What are your chances in Japan?
“It will be very close as the speeds are very similar. Romania and New Zealand are very strong. Three years ago I did not think that we would even be good enough to go for a medal. I dream of gold, but silver or bronze would be fine too.”

What about the atmosphere?
“I will miss the usual charms of the Games without the public. You cannot share your experiences on the spot with the friends and family who have supported you over the years. On the other hand, it is a great relief that the Games are going ahead.”

Do you miss the student life?
“Sometimes. I miss studying itself and using your head. And I miss the projects at Architecture and the Built Environment. Two years really is a long time. It will be so exciting to start again. The architecture world has moved on and there will be new study mates.”

 

Also read the other parts of this series: