The city of Ghent wants to honour Belgian gymnast and Olympic gold medalist Nina Derwael by naming a new bridge after her, following her victory on Sunday.
Ghent’s mayor Mathias De Clercq and alderman for Mobility Filip Watteeuw are in favour of naming the bridge, which is planned to be built in two years’ time, over the Watersportbaan area after Derwael.
The choice to name a bridge after her is not coincidental, as the element Derwael won her Olympic gold medal for on Sunday is called “the bridge” with uneven bars in Dutch.
“It is a brilliant idea that came from someone on Twitter,” Watteeuw said on Flemish radio on Monday. “It would be very special, because Nina did her training at the sports boarding school, at the Watersportbaan.”
— Filip Watteeuw (@filipwatteeuw) August 1, 2021
However, implementing the idea is easier said than done, as there are some practical issues.
Firstly, bridges or streets can only be named after a person has died. “We wish Nina good health, of course. Although we hope that an exception can be made here,” said Watteeuw.
“We will find something to fix that,” he added.
Secondly, the Ghent city council already decided in 2019 to name the bridge after the Ghent sailor Annie Vande Wiele, who was the first woman to travel around the world in a sailing boat.
She made the trip around the world from 1951 to 1953, and a retraction of that decision may be difficult, according to Watteeuw.