The only Belgian double Olympic medalist in judo, Gella Vandecaveye celebrates her 50th birthday

For a small country like ours, it is not always easy to establish itself on the world sports map. Among the key disciplines that allow foreigners to get to know Belgium: judo. This martial art also experienced a very good period in the 90s. An era marked by several faces including that of Gella Vandecaveye. A double Olympic medalist, the Belgian also has two world titles and three continental titles. On the occasion of her 50th birthday, a look back at the career of this athlete who hit rock bottom between the heights of her career.

The judoka was only 20 years old when she revealed herself to the whole world. While the Belgians are coming out of the complicated Olympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, Vandecaveye adorned herself with gold at the Hamilton World Championships in Canada in 1993. Despite her young age, she saved her delegation from yet another bitter failure since she was the only Belgian medalist at these world championships. Model of regularity, the Courtraisienne will glean another four medals in the Worlds. In the meantime, she also knows the joys of Olympic metal. First silver in Atlanta in 1996 before bronze in 2000 in Sydney.

Australian Olympics Gella Vandecaveye almost never lived. During the European team championships in 1998, she fell heavily against By Rekowski. The balance sheet is heavy. Several cervical vertebrae are fractured and paraplegia is near. At the end of a long rehabilitation, the athlete will find the tatamis. With the success that we know of him. Happy Birthday Gela!

2023-06-05 09:38:18
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