Maarten van der Weijden

Maarten van der Weijden is a former Dutch long distance and marathon swimmer who won a golden medal at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 (open water swimming, 10km). In 2001 he was diagnosed with cancer (leukemia) and at one point he wasn’t expected to survive. After being in the hospital for half a year for chemotherapy, surgery and a stamcelltransplantation, Maarten had the luck to recover and became a professional swimmer again.

Maarten was in his childhood known as a promising swimming talent. As a teenager he participated at the 1999 European Junior Championships and at the 2000 Open Water World Championships. After his recovery from cancer, Maarten made his comeback in 2003. He won several Dutch titles and started swimming at international events as well. In 2004 Maarten swam across the IJsselmeer, collecting 50.000 euros for the Dutch Cancer Foundation.

Maarten won a silver medal at the European Championships over 10km in 2006. In this year he moved to Eindhoven where he could train with Olympic Champion Pieter van den Hoogenband. Maarten intensified his training regime and started using light therapy and altitude training to increase his chances for success. During his comeback, Maarten set himself the goal to become World Champion one day and he fulfilled this dream when he won the 25km at the 2008 Open Water World Championships in Seville. At this event he also won a bronze medal at the 5km and became fourth at the 10km. The last result qualified him for the 10km open water swimming race at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

On August 21 2008, Maarten won the golden medal at the 10km in Beijing, narrowly edging out David Davies of Great Britain (2nd) and Thomas Lurz from Germany (3rd). After winning the gold, Maarten realised he reached the highest goal he could achieve in swimming and retired. He started giving inspirational speakings and wrote a book about his road to success. In 2010 Maarten started working as a financial manager for Unilever and is currently working for Unilever in Jakarta (Indonesia).


Are we the master of our own success?

We want to believe that everything we do/achieve is a result of the choices we make and therefore we like to believe that we can control our own lives. But is this true? In this presentation, Maarten tells about his view on controlling your own success from his experiences in his childhood, his illness and his career as a professional swimmer. His personal and inspiring story gives an insight on how he dealt with the deathly disease he got and what encouraged him to work hard to become an Olympic Champion. This presentation will encourage the audience to think about their own life, their strenghts and weaknesses and how they want to reach their personal and professional goals. Maartens story will make your audience wake up the other day with a lot of energy and motivation to reach their personal best.

Reaching consistent and sustainable success

After reaching the Olympic golden medal at the Olympic Games of 2008 in Beijing (open water swimming, 10km), Maarten retired from swimming. Despite of his retirement, he didn’t lay back, but became a succesfull speaker (over 200 presentations in the Netherlands and abroad, average graded 9/10), wrote his autobiography (sold over 50.000 examples, hit the book top 10 in the Netherlands) and started a fastgrowing succesfull carrier at Unilever. How did Maarten manage to continue his success in other areas different than sports? What are his ‘secrets’? Maarten his insights can help you and your company to reach consistent and sustainable success, given to you in an inspiring, amusing and personal way.


Maartens presentation was a wonderfull experience. The audience hang onto every word he said and Maarten told his story with lots of humor, passion and power. We’re very happy we asked him to be our guest speaker.
~ Oracle Netherlands BV

Maarten held his audience captivated with his exiting and emotional, yet fun, story. He is inspiring, enthusiastic and very realistic. Every one, men and women, coming from every age group and background, had a wonderful night.
~ Adrianne Scheffers, DNC Jakarta (Dutch Club Jakarta)

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