Starting out as a cyclist, Lieuwe de Boer focussed on speed skating after a hard fall from his bike. His specialty was the shortest distance, the 500 m. Although he never medalled at World Sprint Championships, his fast 500s helped him finish in the top 10 three times, including a 6th place in 1979. Having finished 4th on a 500 m at the World Sprint Championships, he was at best an outsider for an Olympic medal in Lake Placid. But De Boer surprised everybody with a bronze medal behind the expected medallists Heiden and Kulikov. A year later, he won the Dutch Sprint title, after having been runner-up twice. Lieuwe de Boer attempted to qualify for a second Olympics in 1984, but was not selected for the Dutch team. His last feat was winning the Dutch Championships "kortebaan" (160 m) in 1985, after which he became a coach for young skaters.
Personal Bests: 500 – 37.66 (1981); 1000 – 1:16.65 (1980); 1500 – 2:02.44 (1982); 5000 – 8:30.3 (1982).