Ivo Van Damme (Dendermonde, February 21, 1954 – December 29, 1976) was a
Belgian middle distance runner.
was born in Dendermonde.
He played football
until he was 16, but then
switched to athletics
His breakthrough came in 1973, when he placed fourth in the 800 m
at the European Junior Championships.
He suffered from mononucleosis
following season, but returned strong beating Roger Moens
's 1955 national 800 m record.
he won the European indoor title over this distance, and was one of
the favourites for a medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
eventually ended up second in both the 800 and 1500 m, finishing
behind Alberto Juantorena
his last successes, as Van Damme was killed in a car accident later
that year while travelling home from Marseille in southern France.
He was to marry Rita Thijs
in 1977. Since 1977, a memorial
competition has been held in Brussels to remember him, the
Memorial van Damme
has become one of the major track and field meetings of the
After his death, Belgian athletics got into a long period without
athletes with international fame. Together with the athletics event
named after him, this turned Van Damme into a national icon
reminding of a glorious past and missed opportunity. It wasn't
until the arrival of Kim Gevaert
that Belgian athletics
got a boost again.
- NO PAGELEVEL. À 22 ans, Ivo est entré dans l'Olympe,
Le Soir. August 30, 2006.