Madelein Meppelink: Top-level athlete and leader

Presenting the FIVB Board of Administration member, President of the FIVB Athletes’ Commission and three-time beach volleyball Olympian

Madelein Meppelink, a 31-year-old beach volleyballer from the Netherlands, is currently serving as FIVB Athletes’ Commission President. The 1.83m-tall blocker is a three-time Olympian, a two-time European champion and one of the top players on the international sand stage.

Madelein was born on November 29, 1989 in Rhenen, a small town in central Netherlands. She was 15 years old when she made her international beach volleyball debut, at the 2005 CEV U18 European Championship in Ukraine. A year later, at the 2006 edition of the U18 continental event in Slovakia, she claimed her first international medal, finishing runners-up in partnership with the future setter of the Dutch indoor national team, Laura Dijkema. Meppelink was only 17, when she and Margo Wiltens made the quarterfinals of the 2007 FIVB U21 Beach Volleyball World Championship in Italy. Two years later, she would repeat that result at the U21 Worlds in England, this time alongside Sophie van Gestel.

Meppelink started playing on the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour in 2009. Her first podium on the Tour came three years later, but at the highest level. In a team with Van Gestel, she claimed silver at the 2012 Klagenfurt Grand Slam. In 2013, they took a Grand Slam gold in Corrientes and made it to the number one team in the FIVB World Ranking. Meppelink has tallied a World Tour showcase of two gold, six silver and seven bronze medals.

Their next tournament after that Klagenfurt Grand Slam podium marked their Olympic debut. At the London 2012 Games, they finished ninth. Meppelink had another ninth-place finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics alongside Marleen van Iersel. She made it to the Olympic sand for the third time at Tokyo 2020, where she represented the Netherlands together with her current teammate Sanne Keizer.

Meppelink and Keizer triumphed as continental champions at EuroBeachVolley 2018 at home in the Hague. It was the second European Championship title for Meppelink. Four years earlier, she topped the podium at Cagliari 2014 in partnership with Van Iersel.

Currently, Meppelink and Keizer are the number seven team in the FIVB World Ranking.

Being a great leader on the sand, Madelein Meppelink has proved her leadership skills off the court too. Between 2011 and 2017, she was a member of the Athletes’ Commission at Nevobo, the Dutch volleyball federation. Since 2017 she has been involved in establishing and running the International Beach Volleyball Players’ Association.

Meppelink joined the FIVB Athletes’ Commission in July 2019. In May 2021, she won the first-ever elections to become Commission President. As such, she also joined the FIVB Board of Administration.

“I am honoured and humbled to be elected by my fellow colleagues at the FIVB Athletes’ Commission,” she said upon her election victory. “I look forward to another productive term of the Commission which, after just one term, has proven its ability to best represent the voices of our fellow athletes. The work of the Commission has also been further strengthened with the introduction of elections, and we are excited for the future of the Commission and our incredible sport.”