Sanne van Dijke of the Netherlands with her gold medal at Hungary Masters meet in Budapest in August. | Photo by Attila Volgyi/Xinhua via Getty Images

Name: Sanne van Dijke
Country: Netherlands
Sport: Judo, 70kg
Previous Olympic experience: Tokyo 2021
Social MediaInstagram

Who is Sanne van Dijke

Van Dijke enters the Paris Olympics ranked fifth in the world in the 70-kg class (154 pounds) and a threat to win another medal to add to her bronze from Tokyo. She has had a dominant last year on the mat, finishing first at the August Hungary Masters, third in November’s European Championships, first at the Tokyo Grand Slam in December and second at the Tbilisi Grand Slam in March.

In 2021 at Tokyo, Van Dijke and British judoka Natalie Powell were an out lesbian couple, both competing at the Games. But based on both women’s social media accounts, they appear to have broken up. Neither of them has an Instagram post with the other, and in 2023, old posts with them together have been deleted. In 2023, Van Dijke posted images of her with who appears to be another female partner, though it’s unclear whether they are still together. Powell, for her part, did not qualify for Paris.

Sanne van Dijke at the Paris Summer Olympics

Van Dijke, who will turn 29 on July 21, is a serious contender to win her class in Paris based on her past year’s results.

More importantly, she has been recognized by the Olympic Committee for her “Athletes For Good” advocacy, saying, “In 2020, Sanne Van Dijke joined 113, the national [Dutch] organization for suicide prevention. 113’s mission is to prevent suicide with more open discussions that it’s OK to not be OK and to ask for help, and to provide additional access to healthcare resources. … She continues to promote the organization through media interviews and her social media channels.”

Van Dijke will fight on July 31, in the 64-person competition, having to win six matches in a row that day.

Discover more