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On behalf of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel rector Caroline Pauwels signed into effect an agreement with the Dutch sports federation NOC*NSF with regards to elite athlete coaching for the Olympic Games of 2018 and 2020. She did so during the official state visit to the Netherlands on November 28th. This agreement solidifies the collaboration of both partners in the area of elite sports. On the one hand NOC*NSF is well on its way - with a thirteenth place in the medal standings at the 2012 London Olympics and an eleventh place at this year’s Rio Olympics - to reach its ambitious target of nestling the Netherlands inside the top ten of best sports nations in the world. Vrije Universiteit Brussel on the other hand is a renowned partner with years of experience in the fields of research, education and guidance of elite athletes.
Specifically with relation to elite athlete guidance, Vrije Universiteit Brussel has provided expertise in the area of performance behaviour through its professor Sports Psychology Paul Wylleman since 2014. As performance manager he is part of NOC*NSF’s High Performance Team, led by Maurits Hendriks. Wylleman focuses on the development and optimisation of performance behaviour in athletes and teams, in close consultation with federation and Olympic coaches. Plenty of attention is also paid to the clinical guidance of elite athletes. Wylleman brought together a team of experts in the field of performance behaviour that he manages in function of the effective and efficient guidance of Dutch talents, elite athletes and coaches. As a member of TeamNL he was part of the preparation of Dutch Olympians for the 2016 Games as well as being on site in Rio to guide TeamNL.