Birth Date : 03.03.1991
An Vannieuwenhuyse, pilot of the Belgian Bullets 2-woman sled. She grew up in Lede, Oost-Vlaanderen as the youngest of 2 children in a real track & field family. Her parents are both track coaches since the mid 1980s so she quite literally grew up on the Sport Vlaanderen track in Lede-Oordegem. She also practised gymnastics (artistic, trampoline, acro, …), did hiphop and street dance, but ultimately chose athletics as her favorite sport. As a teenager she became a multiple regional and national youth champion (60mH, 80mH, triple jump, relay) and was fighting her way to the top of the national senior level.
In june 2011 she got a message from Elfje Willemsen who was recruiting new brakewomen. After some tests she got invited to the team training camps and got to make her competition debut in november 2011 as a brakewoman. In 2012 she drove her first bobschool and in 2013 she made the transition to being a junior pilot for the team. The thing she loves the most about the sport is the team effort they put into a good result. They work hard all summer to be as fast and as strong as possible, they work on the mental skills to find the right focus and concentration to slide down the track, they work hard in the garage to get their material (sled and runners) in the best condition possible, … To get all these little pieces to fit the performance puzzle and do this together with your teammates is such a challenge. The contrast between the long precise preparation and the fast short descent down the track gives you such an incredible adrenalin rush.
In 2015 An finished herUniversity education (physiotherapy and rehabilitation science) and then became a part time professional athlete for Sport Vlaanderen after their bronze medal at the junior World Championships, together with brakewoman Lies Defreyne. Since 2017 she has been a full time athlete for Sport Vlaanderen. After the Winter Olympic Games of 2018, where her teammate Sophie Vercruyssen and her got to a hopeful 12th place, she moved to Ghent to be closer to better training facilities. In 2019 she and brakewoman Sara Aerts had a career high result of 8th place at the World Championships and they are working very hard to repeat and improve on this result at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. In 2020 she also started learning how to drive the new mono bobsleigh, a new Olympic discipline in 2022.
Career Highlights :
12th place at the 2018 Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South-Korea
8th place at the 2019 World Championship in Whistler, Canada
11th place at the 2020 World Championship in Altenberg, Germany
3rd place at the 2015 Junior World Championship in Altenberg, Germany
4th place at the World cup races in Whistler, Canada (2016) and Altenberg, Germany (2017)
6th place at the World cup races in Lake Placid, USA (2016) and Sigulda, Latvia (2018)
8th place at the World cup races in PyeongChang, South-Korea (2017), Winterberg, Germany (2018) and Altenberg, Germany (2019)
Career Goals :
top 8 2-woman bobsleigh
top 16 mono bobsleigh
top 8 2-woman bobsleigh Königssee, Altenberg and Winterberg
top 6 2-woman bobsleigh