By Jeremiah Vaille
Since the Winter Olympics are ongoing just 6 months after the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics, and this is The Oredigger’s Valentines Day edition, I figured I would share a story of Olympic love. While athletes must focus on their sports and competition, the Olympic village is still full of socializing and some romance. A few Olympians have met their partners during their time at the games, and one couple even got married at the Olympics.
58 years ago, at the 1964 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Diana Yorgova and Nikola Prodanov were married. The Bulgarian athletes had set their wedding date for a few months after the Olympics, but when the Bulgarian ambassador to Japan heard of their love story, he suggested they get married there at the games instead. After Yorgova’s long jump events and Prodanov’s gymnastic competitions concluded, they were married in front of other athletes and journalist. The event made international news and came as a surprise to their friends and family as they were not able to be contacted before the wedding.
Yorgova and Prodanov met several years before the games as already competitive athletes and were friends for four years before they began their relationship. The Olympics was an important goal to both athletes, and the Tokyo Olympics defined their athletic and personal lives.
Wed by Japanese officials, the wedding was both exciting and a little sad for the couple as their friends and family were not there to celebrate. The couple went on a one day honeymoon in Japan before returning to Tokyo for the closing ceremony. They returned home and had another celebration afterwards.
The couple had two daughters and remain a happy couple today. One of the daughters was born before her mother won the silver medal in the 1972 Olympics.