Monday, 8 July 2013

1976, Deaths: Ivo Van Damme

On 29 December 1976 Ivo Van Damme was killed in a head-on collision, on the auto route between Marseille and Lyon, on his way home from a training session in the south of France. His death, at the age of 22, will always be remembered as one of the great lost talents of modern athletics.

At the 1976 Montreal summer Olympics Van Damme won silver in both the 800 and 1500 m, finishing behind Alberto Juantorena and John Walker, respectively.

Ivo van Damme was born in Brussels on 21 February 1954 as the son of a gendarmerie commandant. He turned to athletics rather late at the age of 17. Until then he played football, he joined his first running club, Daring club of Leuven ion 1970. His breakthrough came in 1973 at the European Junior Championships in Duisburg, he finished fourth behind Steve Ovett.
Montreal 1976 Athletics 800m
1st Alberto Juantoreno (Cuba, 1:43.50),
2nd Ivo Van Damme (Belgium, 1:43.86),
3rd Richard Charles Wohlhuter (USA, 1:44.12)
Montreal 1976 Athletics 800m
Montreal 1976 Athletics 800m
Van Damme is commemorated at an annual international meeting in Brussels, which has become the scene of several record-breaking performances. This is a fitting tribute to a man who appeared to have time on his side but who ran out of that most precious commodity far too soon.
Montreal 1976 Athletics 1500m
1st John Walker (New Zealand, 3:39.17),
2nd Ivo Van Damme (Belgium, 3:39.27),
3rd Paul-Heinz Wellmann (West Germany, 3:39.33)
Montreal 1976 Athletics 1500m
Ivo Van Damme

Montreal 1976 800m

Montreal 1976 1500m

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