Spikes17 Sep 2015

Track Royalty


Susan Kuijken

Here's a question that's been bugging us lately: is European 5000m bronze medallist “Queen Suzy” Susan Kuijken really a member of the Dutch Royal Family? We get Queen Suzy to clear things up once and for all.

“Before I left Holland, aged 18 or 19, I never used to wave, certainly never down the home straight because in long distance races there is often not much of a celebration. Yet there is much more opportunity to celebrate on the podium. Often the medal ceremonies are so stiff and boring but when I went to America [to study at Florida State University] in the college races most of them had a podium, so that is when I decided to slightly tilt my head and give a little bit of a stiff hand wave that lasts for about five seconds.

“I’ve always kind of done a royal wave. I used to tell my US track colleagues at university that I was related to the Dutch Royal Family. I said because Holland is so small we are all related to the Royal Family. It started out as a bit of a joke and kind of stuck. That is when I became known as Queen Suzy.

“I remember when I graduated I had to fill out my name on a piece of a paper: I wrote down the name Susan Queen Kuijken. They called my name out at the graduation ceremony as Susan Queen Kuijken. My parents who were watching a stream of the ceremony from back in Holland were like ‘did they just say Susan Queen Kuijken?’ Everyone at the ceremony was screaming with laughter.

“The wave has become my little way of being funny, my little gesture to the fans. It is sometimes even funnier to do the wave at a meet when nobody is there. It makes me feel really important.

“Sadly, because the podium is not so much a part of competition in Europe, the wave is not seen as regularly, but I managed to squeeze in a wave when winning bronze at the European Championships last season. I think my fans appreciated it.”

PLEASE NOTE: This is not the regal wave. We couldn't find the right video. Just believe us.

SPIKES advise caution

We’re all for a bit of showmanship, but you still got to get the job done. Here’s one wave that turned out disastrously for 1980 Olympic 800m champion Steve Ovett.