Public Outcry as Convicted Rapist Steven van de Velde Granted Olympic Spot in Netherlands’ Beach Volleyball Team

In a controversial move, the Dutch Olympic Committee has confirmed that Steven van de Velde, a convicted rapist, will compete for the Netherlands in beach volleyball at the Paris Olympics.

This decision has stirred considerable backlash, given van de Velde’s history—he was convicted of raping a 12-year-old British girl in Milton Keynes back in 2014.

Van de Velde, now 29, flew from the Netherlands to the UK to meet the schoolgirl he had been chatting with on Facebook.

Despite knowing her young age, he engaged in sexual acts, leading to his conviction in 2016.

He served only a year of his four-year sentence and was released in 2017.

Despite his criminal record, van de Velde has qualified for the Olympics, partnering with Matthew Immers in beach volleyball.

The Dutch Olympic Committee defended their decision, citing van de Velde’s participation in supervised rehabilitation programs since 2018, meeting criteria set by the national volleyball federation.

The International Olympic Committee deferred to the Dutch Olympic Committee on athlete selection policies.

Meanwhile, during his trial, it was revealed that van de Velde had initiated contact with his victim through social media, eventually meeting her in person and engaging in sexual activities.

Van de Velde’s Perspective

After his release, van de Velde expressed frustration over his public image, denying claims of being a sex offender or paedophile.

He maintained that people should hear his side of the story before forming opinions about him.

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