Five Belgian favourites to win a medal at Beijing 2022

The Olympic Winter Games in Beijing start next year on 4 February. According to Olav Spahl, Belgian Chef de mission for Beijing 2022, the 123 Belgian athletes competing in Beijing have the potential to capture medals in two months’ time. Let’s take a look at the five Belgian favourites to win a medal in China.

1. Bart Swings (30), the greatest hope

The most famous among the Belgian ice-athletes, speedskating Swings became the first Belgian in 20 years to win a medal at the mass start event at the Olympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South-Korea, four years ago. During the mass start event up to 24 athletes skate against each other over the course of  16 laps around the ice oval. Bart Swings faces two obstacles on his route to a medal: his inconsistent getaway at the 1.500 metres event and his endurance at the 10-km discipline. Take into account that the Netherlands have been consistently winning less trophies over the last few Olympic Games, Swings has a good chance of winning a medal.



Dit bericht op Instagram bekijken


Een bericht gedeeld door Bart Swings (@bart_swings)

2. Stijn Desmet (23), young outsider with huge potential

Siblings Stijn and Hanne Desmet who both specialize in individual short track skating. are the secret weapons of the Belgian team. In the individual short track discipline six skaters challenge each other on an oval size track over the course of 3.000 metres. Stijn Desmet will try to do better than his fifth and seventh place at the Dutch World Championships 2021, held in Dordrecht. As the 2016 Yourth Olympic gold medal winner at the age of 18, Stijn is regarded as one of the outsiders for a medal at the short track discipline.



Dit bericht op Instagram bekijken


Een bericht gedeeld door Stijn Desmet (@stijn.tdesmet)

3. Hanne Desmet (25), medal favourite if healthy

Hanne Desmet will participate at her first Olympic Games, but do not let that fool you. At the World Championships in Dordrecht last year she was able to capture the silver medal at the 1.000m shorttrack event. This makes her a favourite to reach the final and potentially get a medal. Though, there are still some concerns regarding her physical health since she suffered a concussion last year. She reportedly still has balance issues and problems handling bright light when skating.



Dit bericht op Instagram bekijken


Een bericht gedeeld door Hanne Desmet (@hanne__desmet)

4. Loena Hendrickx (22), the ever-maturing Belgian figure skater

In a discipline dominated by Russia, Japan, Canada and the USA, getting to the top is very hard as a West-European figure skater. Loena Hendrickx qualified for the Olympics by coming out in fifth place at the Stockholm World Championships last year. According to her brother and ex-participant at the Winter Olympic Games, Jorik Hendrickx, Loena has grown better at dealing with pressure and nerves and that mentally and artistically her craft is constantly improving. Reaching the top 8 is Loena’s personal goal, but more is always welcome.


5. Kim Meylemans (25), has all the skills to finish high

Meylemans became the first Belgian skeleton athlete ever when she participated at the 2016 Winter Olympic Games in South-Korea. During the skeleton event, athletes lie face down and head-first on a skeleton bobsled. In two months’ time Meylemans will try and improve her 14th place in Pyeongchang. She can take confidence from the third place finish she got at last year’s World Cup in Innsbruck, Austria. Bert Sterckx, VRT journalist, says that physically Meylemans is one of the best and quickest in the field and that she should not minimize her ambitions in Beijing.



Dit bericht op Instagram bekijken


Een bericht gedeeld door Kim Meylemans (@kimmeylemans)

Even though as an outside observer you don’t necessarily relate Belgium to the Olympic Winter Games, you cannot deny that Belgium has a good chance of winning a medal at the 2022 edition in Beijing. Bart Swings is the big Belgian favourite, while the siblings Desmet, Hendrickx and Meylemans are potential outsiders to capture a podium place in their respective disciplines in China.

Text: Jellen Monsieur; final edit by Jana Huysmans
Photo: Martin Rulsch (CC BY-SA 4.0, CC BY-SA 4.0)