Mileage ace Van Rouwendaal can no longer be fooled by a coach

Many photos of animals hang from the wall in her parents’ house in Eindhoven. Ducks especially. It is a memory of the childhood of swimmer Sharon van Rouwendaal (26) in France. Duck and Ducky were her best friends.

Van Rouwendaal has always been an outsider. The long-distance swimmer became Olympic champion in the 10 kilometers of open water at the 2016 Rio Olympics. 

The road to gold went through sporting hardships with authoritarian coaches. A book has recently been published about her special childhood in France: Bruut, written by sports journalist Natasja Weber.

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