Grandson's win sparks flood of calls

23:30, Aug 08 2012

People around the world have been ringing Blenheim couple Wim and Riet van Velthooven to celebrate with them after their grandson Simon van Velthooven won bronze at the London Olympics yesterday.

Mrs van Velthooven said the phone had not stopped ringing since her grandson and Dutch cyclist Teun Mulder claimed joint bronze medals after a photo finish in the men's kierin final at 5am.

"We've had about 50 phone calls, every time I put the phone down it rings again. They've been coming in from England, Holland, Sydney even South Africa."

The couple had endured a "scary" few minutes, while a photo finish between van Velthooven and Mulder was declared a draw, but Mrs van Velthooven said she always had a feeling her grandson had done enough to claim the medal.

Despite getting up at 2am to watch the semifinal and final races the pair had not slept since, spending the whole day celebrating, she said. They had hung a New Zealand flag outside their Springlands home and were planning to round off the celebrations by sharing some champagne with friends last night.

"We had about three hours sleep, but it only happens once in our life time so it doesn't matter. I'm glad we could see it, it's been wonderful."

In between the other phone calls she had spoken briefly with Simon's father in London and said Simon was ecstatic with the result and enjoying a chance to relax at a family dinner.


The Marlborough Express