Atje Keulen-Deelstra (31 December 1938 – 22 February 2013) was a Dutch speed skater, who was a four-fold World Allround Champion between the age of 32 and 36.[1]


 [hide*1 Biography


Atje Deelstra was born as the eldest of four siblings in a farmers family. As a teenager she did gymnastics, athletics and basketball, but finally chose speed skating.[2] At the age of 16, she already won a junior title of Friesland and several cash prizes in the Netherlands. In 1962, she married Jelle Keulen (23 November 1931 – 28 July 2011), a farmer with whom she had three children born between 1963 and 1966.[3][2][4]

When the Thialf arena opened in 1967 in Heerenveen, Keulen-Deelstra went there to work on a comeback. She quickly made much progress, but she was told over and over again that she was too old. Not a member of the Dutch speed skating team, she won the Dutch Allround Championships in 1970 at the age of 32, beating Dutch skating team members such as Ans Schut and multiple world champion Stien Kaiser. That same year, she became World Allround Champion. More successes soon followed when in 1972, she became Dutch, European, and World Allround Champion, a feat she then repeated the following two years (1973 and 1974). In addition, at the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo, she won one silver and two bronze medals.[1]

In 1975, Keulen-Deelstra switched to marathon skating and she became Dutch Champion in that discipline five times. She won her last Dutch Marathon Championships title in 1980 when she was 42 years old. In 1997, just a few weeks after having been injured in a traffic accident, Keulen-Deelstra participated in the Elfstedentocht. She died of a cerebral infarction in 2013.[4]

In the 1980s and early 1990s, her daughter Boukje Keulen (born 2 December 1963) also was a successful skater. Like her mother, Boukje went from short track through long track ("regular") to marathon speed skating.[1]


An overview of medals won by Keulen-Deelstra at important championships she participated in, listing the years in which she won each:

Championships Gold medal Silver medal Bronze medal
Winter Olympics 1972 (1,000 m) 1972 (1,500 m)

1972 (3,000 m)

World Allround 1970

1972 1973 1974

World Sprint 1973


European Allround 1972

1973 1974

Dutch Allround 1970

1972 1973 1974


World records[edit]Edit

Over the course of her career, Keulen-Deelstra skated 2 world records:

Distance Result Date Location
1,500 m 2:17.2 14 March 1970 Inzell
Mini combination 182.805 16 January 1972 Inzell

Preceded by

Maria Gommers

Dutch Sportswoman of the Year


Succeeded by

Willy Stahle

Olympic Games
Preceded by

Stien Baas-Kaiser

Flagbearer for  Netherlands

Sapporo 1972

Succeeded by

Dianne de Leeuw

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