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Abigail (26)

Abigail
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Journal of Abigail (26)

Monday December 19, 2005
06:07 AM

Book review: "Op dun ijs"

[ #28054 ]
This weekend, I finished the book Op dun ijs, het verhaal van Peter Mueller (On thin ice, the Peter Mueller story). Peter Mueller is an American speed skater and coach. The book tells the story of his (ice) life, first as a speed skater (he won the Olympic gold medal on the 1,000 meters in 1976), then as a coach. As a coach, he started with small countries like Austria and France, then moved to the Netherlands, first as a coach for the national team, later as trainer/coach for one of the commercial teams. Nowadays, he's trainer/coach of the Norwegian national team.

The book lets Peter kick against anything and anyone that crossed his way. For Peter, there are only two kinds of people in this world: people that are loyal to him, and bitter enemies that backstab him. There doesn't seem to be a middleground, and unfortunally the book focusses more on negative things than on positive things. The book is interesting in the sense that it lets Peter do all the talking - but that's also the greatest weakness of the book. A lot of accusations are made, but there's no room for anyone else to tell their side of the story.

Recommended for anyone interested in speed skating. The book is in Dutch, and I doubt there will be an English translation. But outside of the Netherlands, and possibly Norway, who's really interested in this sport?

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  • Since you're such a fan of speed skating, I though you might like to know that my Perl code and I played a small* part in helping Catriona LeMay Doan [catrionalemaydoan.com] win her Gold medal at the 2002 Olympics. She came to the aerospace lab I work at to test different suits [nrc-cnrc.gc.ca]. She was very easy to work with; no "I'm a star" attitude, unlike the two male skaters that were here at the same time.

    * The word "small" is here used as a short form for "almost infinitesimally insignificant compared to many other factors"

  • All this is really unfair. For those of us who are interested in cycling or speed-skating, I think you owe it to us to translate these things. After all, it was only very recently that Tim Krabbé's De renner was translated into English, and wow, would I like to read more of that. But I'm too lazy to learn Dutch.
    • You think that's unfair? What's really unfair is that we have to pay a lot more for English language books than US or UK people. And we have an extremely limited selection to choose from.

      If you fix that, I'll translate the book ;-)