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November 28, 2006
Belgium Olympic Committee celebrates Centenary

Stars were not only on the track at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels in August when luminaries from the sporting world gathered to celebrate the Centenary of the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC).

IOC President Dr Jacques Rogge, Lord Sebastian Coe - Head of FIFA’s Ethics Committee and Chair of the London Organizing Committee for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Alberto Juantorena and Sergei Bubka gathered to celebrate the anniversary with Belgian Olympic President Pierre-Olivier Beckers. More than 500 Belgian Olympians, including 27 medalists and cycling champion Eddy Merckx were also present.

President Beckers told the gathering that “all guests of honor have a strong link with Belgian sports and with the Olympic movement. IOC President Dr Jacques Rogge was an Olympic sailor in Munich 1972 and Montreal 1976, combining world level in sailing with his medical studies to become a well known orthopedic surgeon. In Moscow 1980 he began his term as head of the Belgian Olympic delegation, and he was the National Olympic President when he was elected to the number one job at the IOC.

”Sebastian Coe, now Lord Coe and key man for the London Olympics 2012, brought with his super mile in 1981 the “Van Damme” his first world record, and Cuban Alberto Juantorena kept Ivo Van Damme away from the gold at the 800m of the Montreal 1976 Olympics. And Sergei Bubka was always a favorite in Brussels”.

The highlight of the ceremony was the presentation of a commemorative jewel by President Rogge to 98 year old Henri Paternoster, bronze medalist at the Berlin 1936 Games and the oldest Belgian Olympic “survivor”.

And back on the track – at the commencement of the “The Van Damme” Eddy Merckx and his fellow Olympians were cheered by 45,000 sports fans during their “lap of honor” on the track of the sold out “King Baudouin Stadium”.

Rik Lamoral

President Belgian Sports Press Association

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