Leerdam, riding for Jumbo-Visma, candidly shared her tough personal struggle after the race. She revealed that there are health issues within her family, which have made the past few weeks particularly difficult for her. Thoughts of her mother, who is dealing with health issues, made the victory bittersweet for Leerdam.
“I don’t want to cry again, but there is something in my family that is not going well health-wise,” Leerdam shared with NOS. Despite her personal struggles, Leerdam managed to put the stress and tension behind her and win the 1,000 meters with conviction.
The skater acknowledged that it was mentally challenging to focus on the competition when her mind was elsewhere. “This week I dealt with it pretty well, but today with the stress and tension it’s just not very nice,” said Leerdam. Despite this, she emphasized the importance of delivering a strong performance so as not to disappoint her mother.
Despite her personal concerns, Leerdam showed resilience on the ice. She rode the 1,000 meters on “autopilot” and achieved a time of 1.14.57, leaving her competitors Miho Takagi and Kimi Goetz behind.
Leerdam’s coach, Jac Orie, praised her courage and determination given the circumstances. “What Jutta has done is extremely impressive, given the circumstances,” said Orie.
With this victory, Jutta Leerdam looks ahead to the next challenges, including the World Cup in Beijing and subsequent events in Stavanger (Norway) and Tomaszów Mazowiecki (Poland).