When Lisa Kruger won gold in world-record time at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio four days after turning 16, she got a surprise phone call from the Dutch prime minister.
The Netherlands swimmer had initially targeted Tokyo 2020 but success came far earlier when she won the 100m breaststroke SB9 in a world record of 1:15.47.
Following the race, a phone was thrust into her hands with a voice on the other end, saying: “‘This is Prime Minister (Mark) Rutte.’ “I never thought he would call to congratulate me,” she told AD.nl. “I stammered a bit of ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’.”
She was appointed Knight in the Order of Orange-Nassau and her hometown of Harderwijk renamed the competition pool Lisa Krugerbad.
Five years later in Tokyo, Lisa won silver in the 100m breaststroke SB9 as well as a further three bronzes with Paris 2024 on the agenda.
In 2006 Lisa broke her left arm when she fell off a wall resulting in a condition known as Madelung’s deformity.
Her left arm is seven centimeters shorter than her right arm and she has 80% less power in her left wrist and fingers and impaired range of motion in her left wrist and lower arm.
She began para-swimming in 2012 and made her international debut at the IPC World Championships in 2015.
Of her disability, she says: “I have had no trouble accepting that I have a disability from the start. I can say that it has also brought me beautiful things and I have rarely regretted it.”