“We kunnen gaan knallen!” was the confirmation I was waiting for. ‘Hammertime!’ Vincent (VH) would say being surrounded by mostly English speaking athletes and coaches of the Canadian Bobsleigh Team. A couple of weeks ago I was reunited with VH, in Altenberg, Germany, where our paths converged for the first time, exactly 20 years ago in 1995.

I was a member of the Dutch Bobsleigh Team back then, VH was recruited to help us out with sport medical/physiotherapy support. Our collaboration continued when we worked together to support the men’s and women’s teams competing at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. It turned out VH would continue for another Quadrennial to be involved in bobsleigh, finally moving on after the 2006 Torino Olympic Games, to other things in life (family, private practice, education) and trading bobsleigh for Summer sports (e.g. track cycling, gymnastics, youth olympics).

Fast forward to 2015, VH and I had not seen each other in the last 10-12 years, after I moved to live in Canada. I knew that we both had expanded our horizons, and were heavily engaged in high-performance sport, in The Netherlands and Canada respectively. In my work as Integrated Support Team Coordinator for Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton I was looking for a couple of professionals who could support the team within our plan, this season and in years to come. Not much convincing was needed, as both leadership and coaching staff were interested to have fresh hands, eyes and spirits in the team. I understand VH needed to arrange a few things in his work and with family, but finally confirmed his commitment. Hammertime!

FullSizeRenderWhen VH showed up, it was like we never parted, same looks and jokes, both older & wiser and with great experience in sport. With information and briefings shared beforehand, we moved quickly through the expectations, updates, athletes and staff. VH knows how he needs to step into a new team, engaging with athletes, taking time to get to know them, their bodies, and their manners. He provides for a positive attitude and brings a great sense of humour with the people he works with. Also, and importantly, those fresh eyes and hands are paying off, VH is looking at our team and athletes with critical rigour and is raising the bar, exactly what we need at this point.

It has been a great pleasure to have VH in our team, and I look forward to more opportunities we may have in the future. So long, Vincent!

Frank van den Berg – Director, mental performance Canadian Sport Institute Calgary



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