Belgium has produced many world-class athletes over the years. Many of them have won medals at the Olympics and other major competitions. Here are just a few of Belgium’s most famous athletes:
#1. Philippe Gilbert (Road Bicycle Racer)
Former professional road bicycle racer Philippe Gilbert was born on July 5, 1982. He is most known for his 2012 World Road Race Championship victory and for being one of just two riders to win all three Ardennes classics in a single season (the other being Davide Rebellin in 2011). Gilbert was also the overall champion of the UCI World Tour for the 2011 season. He concluded the year with a stellar record.
Other classic cycle races that Philippe Gibert won during his active years are Paris Tours which he won twice in 2008 and 2009, Giro di Lombardia in 2009 and 2010, the Amstel Gold Race on four separate occasions (2010, 2011, 2014, 2017), the Flèche Wallonne in 2011, the Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2011, the Clásica de San Sebastián in 2011, the Tour of Flanders in 2017, and the Paris-Roubaix in 2017. (2019). Only two riders (and no one else from Belgium) have ever won all three Ardennes classics in the same calendar year, and he is one of them.
#2. Eden Hazard (Professional Football Player)
The Belgian winger is one of the most complete players in world football. Hazard is an excellent dribbler with great acceleration, and his vision allows him to create chances for teammates. He can play on either wing or through the middle as a number 10, but he’s most dangerous when playing on the right side of an attacking three. After starting his professional career with Lille B, Hazard moved on to the first squad, where he was a key contributor to the 2010-11 league and cup double. Following his time with the RedsLes Dogues, Hazard joined Chelsea FC, where he won two Premier League championships, one FA Cup, one EFL Cup, and two UEFA Europa League championships. He is currently at Real Madrid and has already won the La Liga title twice, the Supercopa de España, UEFA Champions League, and UEFA Super Cup.
#3. Romelu Lukaku (Professional Football Player)
Romelu Lukaku is a professional footballer for the Belgium national team and Serie A club Inter Milan on loan from Premier League club Chelsea. While playing with Anderlecht, Lukaku achieved numerous notable feats, including winning the Belgian Pro League and being named the league’s best goal scorer. He later inked contracts with Chelsea and then Everton. As the league’s second-leading scorer, Lukaku’s star grew at Everton.
After signing with them, he left Manchester United for Inter Milan due to disagreements with the club’s management. While at Inter, Lukaku won the Serie A championship and was named the league’s most valuable player. Because of his outstanding play for Inter, Chelsea decided to re-sign him. Lukaku, after this deal, holds the record for most money spent on a player, most money spent on a Belgian player, and 7th-most money spent on a player overall. It is inconceivable not to include Lukaku on this list since he currently holds the record for the most goals scored for the Belgium national football team.
#4. Tarec Saffiedine (Mixed Martial Artist)
Retired Belgian welterweight fighter Tarec Saffiedine is most known for his time spent with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Tarec Saffiedine fought in various organisations during his career, including Dream and Strikeforce; he was the final boxer to hold the Strikeforce Welterweight Championship belt.
#5. Stefan Everts (Motocross Racer)
Over the course of several years, Stefan Everts raced motocross professionally and oversaw a team of his own. From 1988 through 2006, he competed in the Motocross World Championship. With 10 FIM Motocross World Championships and 101 Motocross Grand Prix Race victories, Everts is the most successful rider in Motocross World Championship history. In 2003, Everts received Belgium’s highest sports honour, the National Sports Merit Award, for his many accomplishments.
#6. Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters (Tennis)
Tennis great Kim Antonie Lode Clijsters, formerly of Belgium, retired in 2013. In 2003, Clijsters was ranked No. 1 worldwide for both singles and doubles simultaneously. In all, she took home six Grand Slam trophies (four in singles and two in doubles). During her time on the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour, Clijsters amassed a total of 42 singles championships and 11 doubles titles.
Written by Bernard de Laguiche