cried eyes out

Ada Kok

Aagje ("Ada") Kok (born 6 June 1947 in Amsterdam, Noord-Holland) is a former swimmer who ranked among the world's best in the butterfly stroke category during the 1960s.

Her international career started in 1962 when, at the age of fifteen, she took the European title in the 100 m butterfly in Leipzig. She was also part of the victorious 4×100 m relay team. At the Tokyo Olympics two years later she finished second in both events. She was also good in freestyle swimming, a fact which showed when she took second place in the 400 metres at the 1966 European Championships in Utrecht. In the same tournament she also won the 100 m butterfly and the 4×100 m relay. She achieved nine world records between 1963 and 1967 in the 100 m and 200 m (not introduced until later).

Kok reached her peak at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. She won gold in the 200 m butterfly in a time of 2:24.7, beating East German Helga Lindner by 0.1 seconds. The 100 m in Mexico ended in disappointment for her. She did not feel well physically and only came fourth.

Normally after a race there were always people around me. This time nobody. Nobody. I suddenly felt so abandoned and alone. Then under the shower I lost control and cried my eyes out.'

For the 200 m final I was so stiff and rigid that I couldn't even see myself getting my tracksuit bottoms off. My fingers couldn't get the zip undone. An official had to help me with it. I don't remember anything now of the first hundred metres. It's a black hole. Well anyway, after 150 metres I was in the lead. Twenty metres from the finish I saw someone (Lindner) catching up with me. I thought: Jesus, no, she's not getting past me. Fortunately I was able to keep in front'.

In her memoirs recorded by Henk Lichtenveldt she said:

Approaching the podium of honour I felt like I was walking on clouds. I had to contain myself because I wanted to rush over the stands skipping like a foal.' This was the crowning moment in a great swimming career.

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