Belgian Paralympic athlete Marieke Vervoort , who had been a 100-meter champion at the London Games in 2012, died Tuesday after undergoing euthanasia at 40, according to media reports in her country.

Affected by a rare disease that paralyzed her legs, the Belgian had announced in August 2016, just before the Rio Games, to have taken steps to resort to euthanasia in case her suffering worsens. This practice is authorized and regulated by law in Belgium.

The sprinter was 14 years old when he was diagnosed with progressive tetraplegia. In his teens he went "from one doctor to another." "None knew what I had, but everyone was announcing bad news," he explained.

Marieke Vervoort was dedicated to the sport with success, first in wheelchair basketball, then in swimming and triathlon.

She was world champion of paratriathlon in 2006, and the following year, in October 2007, she made one of her dreams disputing one of the most mythical tests, the Hawaiian Ironman.

He went on to athletics in 2012, being a Paralympic wheelchair champion over 100 meters in London.

Triple world champion in a wheelchair (100, 200 and 400 meters) in 2015, also won in the Rio Games in 2016 silver in 400 meters and bronze in 100 meters.

His death was announced Tuesday by the burgomaster (mayor) of Diest, the city where he lived in Flanders.

In September, Marieke Vervoort, nicknamed "Wielemie", had made his last wish rolling aboard a Lamborghini Huracan Evolution Race on the Zolder circuit.

"I could realize many dreams. This is the last one," he said.

According to the criteria of The Trust Project

Know more

  • Paralympic Games