Olympic Person of the Month January 2024
Roger Lespagnard, a renowned athlete, technical director, and coach from Belgium has left a significant mark on his respective fields. The EOA recognising him as the Olympic Person of the Month, Lespagnard’s remarkable accomplishments and unwavering commitment to the Olympic Movement have earned him this honour.
Lespagnard has played a crucial role in promoting the Olympic Movement in Belgium. Through his various positions and posts, he has championed the values of excellence, fair play, and unity that the Olympics embody. Lespagnard’s efforts in raising awareness of the Olympic Movement and its impact on society have inspired people to embrace the spirit of sportsmanship and pursue their athletic dreams. In 2022, Lespagnard received the ‘Order of Merit’ by the Belgian Olympic and Interfederal Committee (BOIC) for his exceptional contributions to the field of sports. The ‘Order of Merit’ stands as a testament to Lespagnard’s unwavering dedication to the Olympic Movement and his lasting impact on Belgian sports. The recognition acknowledged Lespagnard’s achievements as an athlete, his role as the federation’s technical director, and his coaching accomplishments.
Lespagnard had a distinguished athletic career and his passion for sports led him to represent Belgium as an athlete in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics, the 1972 Munich Olympics, and the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Following his retirement from competitive athletics, Lespagnard transitioned into roles that allowed him to impart his knowledge and experience to the next generation of athletes. He held the position of technical director of the federation, where his leadership and expertise significantly contributed to the development of the country’s sports infrastructure and the growth of various disciplines. Notably, Lespagnard has been a coach to one of Belgium’s most celebrated athletes, Nafissatou Thiam. Under his guidance, Thiam achieved remarkable success in the heptathlon, becoming a double Olympic champion in Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020.
Roger Lespagnard’s journey as an athlete, technical director, and coach has been nothing short of extraordinary. His remarkable achievements, combined with his commitment to promoting the Olympic Movement, have earned him the honour of being the Olympic Person of the Month. Lespagnard’s legacy serves as an inspiration to athletes, coaches, and sports enthusiasts, illustrating the transformative power of sports and the enduring impact of individuals dedicated to nurturing sporting excellence.