Fantastic Belgian achievements at the Winter Olympics
With Bart Swings winning the speed skating event, Belgium has excelled as never before in the history of the Olympic Winter Games by bringing back two medals and six places of honour from Beijing.
Bart Swings was the favourite in the Mass Start Olympic speed skating event, which involves all the skaters starting at the same time and skating round a 400-meter track 16 times. Leuven-based Swings, already European champion, was not afraid to face up to world competition. After a breath-taking battle with South Koreans Jae Won Chung and Seung Hoon Lee, as well as American Joey Mantia, it was the Belgian who crossed the line first at the end of the 6,400 metre race.
This was a historic performance! The last Belgian gold medal was in 1948, when Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet won the figure skating competition at the Winter Games in Saint-Moritz. Bart Swings also becomes the first Belgian athlete to win two medals at the Olympic Winter Games, as he won a silver medal at the last Games in Pyeongchang (South Korea).
More generally, the results of the Belgian team have never been so brilliant. In addition to the gold medal won by Bart Swings, Hanne Desmet also managed to win a bronze medal in the 1,000m short track final. These two Belgian athletes also reached the top 8 in other events in which they competed, on two and three occasions respectively. Lastly, allow us to highlight the wonderful eighth place achieved by Loena Hendrickx in the figure skating competition, which earned her an Olympic diploma, something highly prized in the world of sports.
Our athletes can already look forward proudly to the next Olympic Games in Milan and Cortina d'Ampezzo (Italy) in 2026.