|Born||5 October 1964|
|Height||1.59 m (5 ft 3 in)|
|Weight||55 kg (121 lb)|
|Event(s)||800 m – 3000 m|
Letitia Alma Vriesde (born 5 October 1964) is a female former track and field athlete from Suriname, who specialised in the 800 metres but was also successful over 1500 metres. She is the first (and to date, only) sportsperson from Suriname to compete at five Olympic Games. She won a silver medal at the 1995 World Championships and a bronze medal at the 2001 World Championships. Vriesde holds the South American records for the 800 metres, 1000 metres and 1500 metres (indoors and outdoors) and also for the 3000 metres (indoors).
Vriesde started running in Suriname, coached by Luiz de Oliveira. She left Suriname after failing to be selected for the 1984 Olympics to train in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands, Vriesde competed for Atletiekvereniging Rotterdam.
She competed in the 800 metres at the 1988 Summer Olympics, and broke into the highest echelons of the sport in 1991, when she reached the finals of both the 800 and 1500 metres at the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo, finishing in fifth and ninth places respectively. At the 1992 Summer Olympics Vriesde set a record of sorts by recording the fastest ever non-qualifying time (1:58.28) in an 800 metres semi-final.
Vriesde won a bronze medal in the 800 metres at the 1995 IAAF World Indoor Championships, before going on to win a silver medal at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics behind Cuba's Ana Quirot. At both competitions, she became the first South American female athlete to win a medal.
A year later, she missed the finals at the 1996 Summer Olympics, running a nearly identical time to her 1992 Olympic performance (1:58.29), again placing fifth in her semifinal. Vriesde won a bronze medal in the 800 metres at the 2001 World Championships in Athletics behind Mozambique's Maria Mutola and Austria's Stephanie Graf. Throughout her career, Vriesde also won many medals at the Pan American Games, Central American and Caribbean Games and South American Games.
Vriesde was disqualified and stripped of her gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games after testing positive for excessive caffeine levels. She was said to have the equivalent of five gallons of coffee in her system. She was not banned however and went on to compete at that year's World Championships. Drinking too much coffee or taking a common cold tablet would no longer get athletes disqualified after a new global list of banned substances was drawn up by the World Anti-Doping Agency and applied from 1 January 2004.
Vriesde retired soon after competing at her seventh World Championships in 2005. In Paramaribo a street formerly known as Cultuurtuinlaan was changed into Letitia Vriesdelaan. The Surinamese Government also gave her a piece of land in appreciation of her achievements.
Vriesde married Bas van Veen on 9 September 2005 in Middelburg, Holland. Her daughter Joi Vienna was born on 19 March 2007.
As of 2017, Vriesde's 800m best of 1:56.68 ranks her 58th on the World all-time list.
|1988||Olympic Games||Seoul, South Korea||14th (sf)||800 m||2:02.34|
|22nd (sf)||1500 m||4:19.58|
|1990||Central American and Caribbean Games||Mexico City, Mexico||2nd||800 m||2:04.87 A|
|1st||1500 m||4:26.28 A|
|South American Games||Lima, Peru||1st||800 m||2:06.2|
|1991||Pan American Games||Havana, Cuba||4th||800 m||2:01.46|
|World Championships||Tokyo, Japan||5th||800 m||1:58.25|
|1992||Olympic Games||Barcelona, Spain||5th (sf)||800 m||1:58.28|
|1993||Central American and Caribbean Games||Ponce, Puerto Rico||1st||800 m||2:04.28|
|1994||South American Games||Valencia, Venezuela||2nd||800 m||2:06.2|
|1995||World Indoor Championships||Barcelona, Spain||3rd||800 m||2:00.36|
|Pan American Games||Mar del Plata, Argentina||3rd||800 m||2:02.25|
|World Championships||Gothenburg, Sweden||2nd||800 m||1:56.68|
|1996||Olympic Games||Atlanta, United States||7th (sf)||800 m||1:58.29|
|1997||World Indoor Championships||Paris, France||4th||800 m||1:59.84|
|World Championships||Athens, Greece||4th||800 m||1:58.12|
|1998||Central American and Caribbean Games||Maracaibo, Venezuela||1st||800 m||2:00.24|
|World Cup||Johannesburg, South Africa||3rd||800 m||2:00.561|
|1999||World Indoor Championships||Maebashi, Japan||11th (sf)||800 m||2:03.50|
|Pan American Games||Winnipeg, Canada||1st||800 m||1:59.95|
|World Championships||Seville, Spain||7th (sf)||800 m||2:00.33|
|2000||Olympic Games||Sydney, Australia||18th (h)||800 m||2:02.09|
|2001||South American Championships||Manaus, Brazil||2nd||800 m||2:00.93|
|World Championships||Edmonton, Canada||3rd||800 m||1:57.35|
|2002||Central American and Caribbean Games||San Salvador, El Salvador||1st||800 m||2:04.50|
|2003||Pan American Games||Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic||–||800 m||DQ|
|World Championships||Paris, France||11th (sf)||800 m||2:00.88|
|2004||Olympic Games||Athens, Greece||24th (sf)||800 m||2:06.95|
|2005||World Championships||Helsinki, Finland||19th (sf)||800 m||2:02.07|
|Results with (h) or (sf) indicates overall position in heats or semifinals respectively.|
1Representing the Americas