The Curse of Bulgarian Champions
In 2000, Bulgaria's Galabin Boevski lifted a total of 357.5 kg (785.5 lbs) in the snatch and clean and jerk lifts to grab the lightweight weightlifting title at the Sidney Summer Olympics.
At the end of October 2011, Boevski was detained in Brazil and accused of carrying nine kilos of cocaine in his luggage. On Friday, he was reported in a state of "emotional shock" in the Brazilian Pinheiros jail.
In 1994, brilliant midfielder Yordan Lechkov was one of the key players in Bulgaria's most successful national football team. He scored a crucial goal against Germany which lead the Balkan underdogs to a sensational World Cup semifinal.
At the end of October 2011, Lechkov, now an incumbent Mayor, lost the local election runoff in the southern Bulgarian town of Sliven amid accusations of being involved in various corruption deals. At the end of September, the former football star was handed a 3-year suspended prison sentence with five years of probation for breach of official duties. He was subsequently banned from leaving the country.
Both Boevski and Lechkov made their compatriots cry with joy with their achievements – and both seem to have proven that it is never too late for one to embarrass oneself.
Bulgaria has produced a decent number of successful athletes over the years, but it seems that the country's coaches have failed to teach some of them the most valuable lesson a future Champion can receive – how to be a dignified role-model.