Justine Henin or Bart Wellens: who's more popular in Belgium?

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Davide Tosi, Feb 2, 2004.

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  1. Davide Tosi

    Davide Tosi Guest

    Last weekend was a great moment for Belgian sports. On Saturday, Justine Henin defeats fellow
    Belgian Kim Clijsters in the final of tennis Australian Open to conquer her third Grand Slam title
    in less than a year. On Sunday, Bart Wellens outsprints fellow Belgian Mario de Clerq in X-country
    cycling World Championship to retain the title that he already won last year.

    While it's clear that Justine is far more popular than Bart on a world wide basis, I wonder who is
    seen as a bigger sport hero in their homeland of Belgium. All in all, cycling is a more popular and
    traditional sport than tennis in Belgium. One thing that struck me was that not only there were more
    Belgian fans attending the X-country WC event in France than there were atteding the Melbourne
    match, which can be easily explained by the proximity of France vs the long distance that separates
    Belgium from Oz, but that there were also many more Belgian fans in the XC race than there were last
    April in Paris (same country, France) for the first Henin vs Clijsters Grand Slam final match-up.

    This makes me think that, while Justine is for sure a bigger media darling, for the average Belgian
    sports fan, Bart Wellens is someone to be more proud of. What is the opinion of the Belgians on
    this matter?
     
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  2. Ronald

    Ronald Guest

    > While it's clear that Justine is far more popular than Bart on a world
    wide
    > basis, I wonder who is seen as a bigger sport hero in their homeland of Belgium.

    My guess: Bart more polulair in Flanders and Justine in Wallonia. I'm sure Ewoud and rbr-Bart know
    the real facts.

    "Davide Tosi" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Last weekend was a great moment for Belgian sports. On Saturday, Justine Henin defeats fellow
    > Belgian Kim Clijsters in the final of tennis Australian Open to conquer her third Grand Slam title
    > in less than a year. On Sunday, Bart Wellens outsprints fellow Belgian Mario de Clerq in X-country
    > cycling World Championship to retain the title that he already won last year.
    >
    > While it's clear that Justine is far more popular than Bart on a world
    wide
    > basis, I wonder who is seen as a bigger sport hero in their homeland of Belgium. All in all,
    > cycling is a more popular and traditional sport than tennis in Belgium. One thing that struck me
    > was that not only there were more Belgian fans attending the X-country WC event in France than
    > there were atteding the Melbourne match, which can be easily explained by the proximity of France
    > vs the long distance that separates Belgium from Oz, but that there were also many more Belgian
    > fans in the XC race than there were last April in Paris (same country, France) for the first Henin
    > vs Clijsters Grand Slam final match-up.
    >
    > This makes me think that, while Justine is for sure a bigger media
    darling,
    > for the average Belgian sports fan, Bart Wellens is someone to be more proud of. What is the
    > opinion of the Belgians on this matter?
     
  3. Wim Hellinx

    Wim Hellinx Guest

    > This makes me think that, while Justine is for sure a bigger media
    darling,
    > for the average Belgian sports fan, Bart Wellens is someone to be more proud of. What is the
    > opinion of the Belgians on this matter?

    Actually, we truly think the prestations of JHH and Kim are far more impressive than those of Bart
    Wellens, but I was surprised to see more pictures and text for the victory of Bart Wellens than of
    the Aussie Open in todays newspapers.

    Though, I can't remember a Belgian cyclocrosser be "sportsman of the year" but the last few years
    we had some tennisplayers being "sportswoman of the year" (Henin, Clijsters, Appelmans, Monami-
    Van Roost)
     
  4. On Mon, 2 Feb 2004 17:17:22 +0100, Ronald wrote:
    > "Davide Tosi" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >> While it's clear that Justine is far more popular than Bart on a world wide basis, I wonder who
    >> is seen as a bigger sport hero in their homeland of Belgium.
    >
    > My guess: Bart more popular in Flanders and Justine in Wallonia. I'm sure Ewoud and rbr-Bart know
    > the real facts.

    Hey, I'm just a 'Ollander from north of the rivers, what do I know. I think you might be right.
     
  5. Bart

    Bart Guest

    "Wim Hellinx" <[email protected]> wrote > Though, I can't remember a Belgian cyclocrosser be
    "sportsman of the year"
    > but the last few years we had some tennisplayers being "sportswoman of the year" (Henin,
    > Clijsters, Appelmans, Monami-Van Roost)
    >

    yes but that just reflects that tennisplayers are more media darlings. Clijsters was once
    sportswoman of the year for just winning her first WTA.

    It's hard to tell who's most popular with the 'average' sportsfan. Cross has real die-hard fans,
    while the tennis scene is followed by more people, but just remotely through mainstream media, and
    only because the succes of the girls.

    In any case in Flanders Clijsters is more appreciated than Henin. Only partially related to the
    linguistic thing, Kim is seen as the warm and friendly kind (as she is in Australia it seems), while
    Henin is more the cold determined type.
     
  6. Wim Hellinx

    Wim Hellinx Guest

    > yes but that just reflects that tennisplayers are more media darlings. Clijsters was once
    > sportswoman of the year for just winning her first WTA.

    Well, that's obvious. Tennis is the worlds most spread womens sport.
     
  7. Bob

    Bob Guest

    "Bart" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:wzwTb.2459$5%

    > In any case in Flanders Clijsters is more appreciated than Henin. Only partially related to the
    > linguistic thing, Kim is seen as the warm and friendly kind (as she is in Australia it seems),
    > while Henin is more the cold determined type.

    might be true, but watching kim lose match after match to justine will wear thin for the clijsters
    fans soon..

    bob
     
  8. Benjo Maso

    Benjo Maso Guest

    "bob" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Bart" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:wzwTb.2459$5%
    >
    > > In any case in Flanders Clijsters is more appreciated than Henin. Only partially related to the
    > > linguistic thing, Kim is seen as the warm and friendly kind (as she is in Australia it seems),
    > > while Henin is more the cold determined type.
    >
    > might be true, but watching kim lose match after match to justine will
    wear
    > thin for the clijsters fans soon..

    Just as Poulidor?

    Benjo Maso
     
  9. Kenny

    Kenny Guest

    "Wim Hellinx" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...
    > > This makes me think that, while Justine is for sure a bigger media
    > darling,
    > > for the average Belgian sports fan, Bart Wellens is someone to be more proud of. What is the
    > > opinion of the Belgians on this matter?
    >
    > Actually, we truly think the prestations of JHH and Kim are far more impressive than those of Bart
    > Wellens, but I was surprised to see more pictures and text for the victory of Bart Wellens than of
    > the Aussie Open in todays newspapers.

    I guess you did see the flemish disappointment about Clijsters loosing again in the number of
    pictures of the US Open. If she had won, i think that would be front page news in the Flemish papers
    and not Wellens' victory. Although we consider the achievements of Justine and Kim higher than
    Wellens excellent season, we cannot keep back the fact that cycling is a part of the Flemish roots.
    It's a sport that stands much closer to the people than tennis which was always considered as a
    sport for the wealthy people. I guess this is also one of the reasons why cyclocross got more
    attention this weekend.
     
  10. Somebody claiming to be [email protected] (Kenny) wrote in
    news:[email protected]:

    > Although we consider the achievements of Justine and Kim higher than Wellens excellent season, we
    > cannot keep back the fact that cycling is a part of the Flemish roots. It's a sport that stands
    > much closer to the people than tennis which was always considered as a sport for the wealthy
    > people. I guess this is also one of the reasons why cyclocross got more attention this weekend.

    Does cyclocross get attention *anywhere* outside Flanders? I listen to Radio Vlaanderen
    Internationaal's English service on my shortwave radio, and it always gets mentioned there in the
    sports reporting, largely because of the successful Flemish riders. I've never heard cyclocross
    mentioned by any of the other broadcasters to which I listen.

    --
    Ted Schuerzinger http://tedstennis.tripod.com/index.html An infallible method of conciliating a
    tiger is to allow oneself to be devoured. -- Konrad Adenauer
     
  11. Whisper

    Whisper Guest

    "Bart" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:wzwTb.2459$5%[email protected]...
    >
    > "Wim Hellinx" <[email protected]> wrote > Though, I can't remember a
    Belgian
    > cyclocrosser be "sportsman of the year"
    > > but the last few years we had some tennisplayers being "sportswoman of
    the
    > > year" (Henin, Clijsters, Appelmans, Monami-Van Roost)
    > >
    >
    > yes but that just reflects that tennisplayers are more media darlings. Clijsters was once
    > sportswoman of the year for just winning her first WTA.
    >
    > It's hard to tell who's most popular with the 'average' sportsfan. Cross
    has
    > real die-hard fans, while the tennis scene is followed by more people, but just remotely through
    > mainstream media, and only because the succes of the girls.
    >
    > In any case in Flanders Clijsters is more appreciated than Henin. Only partially related to the
    > linguistic thing, Kim is seen as the warm and friendly kind (as she is in Australia it seems),
    > while Henin is more the cold determined type.

    Henin is seen as the far superior tennis player by serious fans & tennis analysts.....

    'Warm & fuzzy' take a back seat...........
     
  12. Pol & Polle

    Pol & Polle Guest

    Hello

    Tennis and cyclo-crossing are just two different sports. For one, it's much more easy to go and play
    a match of tennis than it is to ride your own race.

    Second, cyclo-crossing is a regional sport. Tennis is a worldwide sport (excluding only the African
    continent).

    Third, Belgians have dominated the cyclo-crossing races in the past decade and even longer. We
    almost expect a Belgian to win and grab the title. For tennis it's different. We had Sabine
    Appelmans and Dominique Monami but those were just two excellent players but they did not have the
    same talent and capacity as Kim Clijsters and definitely not as Justine Henin-Hardenne.

    Why didn't Justine's win get so much exposure in yesterday's newspapers? Because the match was
    played on Saturday morning at 3:30 AM so it was old news anyway. And then it's her third victory
    already in a Grand Slam. I'd bet a million dollars that if Kim had won, she would have gotten a lot
    more exposure. A first win is always special.

    And indeed, most people from Flandres support Kim and most people from Wallony support Justine. It's
    normal because Kim speaks Flemish while Justine speaks French.

    I'm from Leuven which is in Flandres and I admire Kim for her results but the style of play of
    Justine is so much more breath-taking (to me) that I always go with Justine. That has always been
    the case so I was happy to see her win her third grand slam title and first Aussie Open.

    Hope that she beats Kim in every match they meet although I have to say that I feel sorry for Kim.
    It's getting more and more difficult to grab a GS-title.

    Best Regards

    Tom Haegemans
     
  13. Pol & Polle

    Pol & Polle Guest

    Kenny wrote:

    > "Wim Hellinx" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]
    > ops.be>...
    >
    >>>This makes me think that, while Justine is for sure a bigger media
    >>
    >> darling,
    >>
    >>>for the average Belgian sports fan, Bart Wellens is someone to be more proud of. What is the
    >>>opinion of the Belgians on this matter?
    >>
    >>Actually, we truly think the prestations of JHH and Kim are far more impressive than those of Bart
    >>Wellens, but I was surprised to see more pictures and text for the victory of Bart Wellens than of
    >>the Aussie Open in todays newspapers.
    >
    >
    > I guess you did see the flemish disappointment about Clijsters loosing again in the number of
    > pictures of the US Open. If she had won, i think that would be front page news in the Flemish
    > papers and not Wellens' victory. Although we consider the achievements of Justine and Kim higher
    > than Wellens excellent season, we cannot keep back the fact that cycling is a part of the Flemish
    > roots. It's a sport that stands much closer to the people than tennis which was always considered
    > as a sport for the wealthy people. I guess this is also one of the reasons why cyclocross got more
    > attention this weekend.

    I disagree on your last point. While tennis used to be a sport for the more wealthy people, it has
    lost its elite rank the past decade. I would even dare to say that it's more difficult to buy a bike
    yourself than it is to buy a racket.

    Of course, attending a tennis match will always remain much more expensive because of the higher
    costs of infrastructure and because the interests are bigger.
     
  14. Pol & Polle

    Pol & Polle Guest

    Ted of Ted's Tennis wrote:

    > Somebody claiming to be [email protected] (Kenny) wrote in
    > news:[email protected]:
    >
    >
    >>Although we consider the achievements of Justine and Kim higher than Wellens excellent season, we
    >>cannot keep back the fact that cycling is a part of the Flemish roots. It's a sport that stands
    >>much closer to the people than tennis which was always considered as a sport for the wealthy
    >>people. I guess this is also one of the reasons why cyclocross got more attention this weekend.
    >
    >
    > Does cyclocross get attention *anywhere* outside Flanders? I listen to Radio Vlaanderen
    > Internationaal's English service on my shortwave radio, and it always gets mentioned there in the
    > sports reporting, largely because of the successful Flemish riders. I've never heard cyclocross
    > mentioned by any of the other broadcasters to which I listen.
    >

    I think it does in country's like France, Holland and Italy. But that's about it. That's why I also
    think it is stupid to call it a world championship. But it's the same in snooker or darts. Always
    the same nationalities are presents because they organise a competition in their country. Outside
    there are no competitions so no one gets the chance to get better in that sports.

    Like we Belgians have no top skier because we have no skiing facilities.
     
  15. Jed

    Jed Guest

    On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 16:35:36 +0100, Pol & Polle
    <[email protected]> wrote:

    >Hello
    >
    >Tennis and cyclo-crossing are just two different sports. For one, it's much more easy to go and
    >play a match of tennis than it is to ride your own race.
    >
    >Second, cyclo-crossing is a regional sport. Tennis is a worldwide sport (excluding only the African
    >continent).

    There are a couple of good Moroccan players on the tour (El Aynaoui, Arazi) and South Africans
    (Ferreira, Coetzer) among others.

    _jed
     
  16. Ronald

    Ronald Guest

    > > Does cyclocross get attention *anywhere* outside Flanders?
    >
    > I think it does in country's like France, Holland and Italy. But that's about it.

    It's not that big (tv wise) as it used to be here (Holland). They used to broadcast cyclocross
    events live, now you're lucky if they show a race summary, they show soccer mostly. Same with
    Leontien's world hour record, trackcycling etc., and they didn't even broadcast the Giro when it
    started in Groningen (Holland). I usually tune in to Belgium tv, they show most events, have
    knowledgable commentary and often have live connections with Rudy Pevenage etc. They even showed
    a part of the touristic Tour of Flanders which was fun to watch, with guys who didn't train or
    only 30 km.

    "Pol & Polle" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    >
    > Ted of Ted's Tennis wrote:
    >
    > > Somebody claiming to be [email protected] (Kenny) wrote in
    > > news:[email protected]:
    > >
    > >
    > >>Although we consider the achievements of Justine and Kim higher than Wellens excellent season,
    > >>we cannot keep back the fact that cycling is a part of the Flemish roots. It's a sport that
    > >>stands much closer to the people than tennis which was always considered as a sport for the
    > >>wealthy people. I guess this is also one of the reasons why cyclocross got more attention this
    > >>weekend.
    > >
    > >
    > > Does cyclocross get attention *anywhere* outside Flanders? I listen to Radio Vlaanderen
    > > Internationaal's English service on my shortwave radio, and it always gets mentioned there in
    > > the sports reporting, largely because of the successful Flemish riders. I've never heard
    > > cyclocross mentioned by any of the other broadcasters to which I listen.
    > >
    >
    > I think it does in country's like France, Holland and Italy. But that's about it. That's why I
    > also think it is stupid to call it a world championship. But it's the same in snooker or darts.
    > Always the same nationalities are presents because they organise a competition in their country.
    > Outside there are no competitions so no one gets the chance to get better in that sports.
    >
    > Like we Belgians have no top skier because we have no skiing facilities.
     
  17. On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 18:27:13 +0100, Ronald wrote:
    > Belgium tv, they show most events

    But this year not the Superprestige, dammit.
     
  18. Bart

    Bart Guest

    "Ewoud Dronkert" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > On Tue, 3 Feb 2004 18:27:13 +0100, Ronald wrote:
    > > Belgium tv, they show most events
    >
    > But this year not the Superprestige, dammit.

    commercial VTM bought themselves in. That and the other channel VT4 doing the Wellens docusoap says
    something about the appeal of cross these days.
     
  19. On Tue, 03 Feb 2004 21:28:18 GMT, Bart wrote:
    > commercial VTM bought themselves in.

    Ah OK, we don't get that here.
     
  20. David White

    David White Guest

    "Wim Hellinx" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Though, I can't remember a Belgian cyclocrosser be "sportsman of the year" but the last few years
    > we had some tennisplayers being "sportswoman of the year" (Henin, Clijsters, Appelmans, Monami-
    > Van Roost)

    Is Van Roost still playing? One of my all-time favourite matches was Van Roost beating Sanchez-
    Vicario at the AO.

    David
     
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