Famous Bulgarian Sportspersons

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 1 
André the Giant
(French Professional Wrestler Known for His Great Size)
André the Giant
36
Birthdate: May 19, 1946
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Coulommiers, France
Died: January 27, 1993

André the Giant was one of the most popular French wrestlers ever to appear in WWF. He stood over seven feet tall due to a condition aptly called gigantism, but used his condition to gain popularity. Also an actor, André the Giant continues to be one of the most recognizable faces in the world, several years after his death.

 2 
Hristo Stoichkov
(One of the Greatest Bulgarian Football Players of All Time)
Hristo Stoichkov
5
Birthdate: February 8, 1966
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Bulgarian footballer/coach Hristo Stoichkov’s temper and ugly fights with players have earned him nicknames such as The Raging Bull and The Dagger. The Ballon d'Or-winning player started his career at 11 with a local club. He then graduated to CSKA Sofia and Barcelona and was named to FIFA 100, too.
 3 
Grigor Dimitrov
(Bulgarian Former World Number 3 Tennis Player)
Grigor Dimitrov
5
Birthdate: May 16, 1991
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Haskovo, Bulgaria

Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov had had a career-high ranking of number 3 in singles. The most successful player in Bulgarian tennis history, he has also been in the news for his relationship with Maria Sharapova. Known for his acrobatics and athleticism, he was initially named Baby Federer.

 4 
Dimitar Berbatov
(The Leading Goal-Scorer in Bulgarian Football History)
Dimitar Berbatov
9
Birthdate: January 30, 1981
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Born to a footballer father and a handball player mother, Bulgarian former footballer Dimitar Berbatov was no stranger to sports as a child. He made history as a striker and became Bulgaria’s leading goal-scorer of all time. He has also had a successful career with Manchester United, winning 2 Premier Leagues with them.

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 5 
Kubrat Pulev
(Bulgarian Boxer and Multiple Heavyweight Championship Winner )
Kubrat Pulev
4
Birthdate: May 4, 1981
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
 6 
Miro
(Bulgarian-American Professional Wrestler)
Miro
3
Birthdate: December 25, 1985
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Plovdiv, People's Republic of Bulgaria

Bulgarian wrestler Miroslav Barnyashev, better known as Miro and Rusev, has had a successful career in the US. He is the only Bulgarian to have represented the WWE. He currently represents AEW and is a former United States and TNT champion. Before stepping into wrestling, he also competed in rowing, sambo, and powerlifting.

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 7 
Veselin Topalov
(Bulgarian Chess Grandmaster and Former FIDE World Chess Champion)
Veselin Topalov
3
Birthdate: March 15, 1975
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Ruse, Bulgaria

Bulgarian chess Grandmaster Veselin Topalov is a former world number 1 and a FIDE World Chess Champion. Starting to play chess at age 8, he became a prodigy soon after. He has been part of 9 Chess Olympiads and also bagged the Chess Oscar in 2005.

 8 
Rusev
(First and Only Bulgarian Wrestler to Compete in the WWE)
Rusev
27
Birthdate: December 25, 1984
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Bulgarian wrestler Miroslav Barnyashev, better known as Miro and Rusev, has had a successful career in the US. He is the only Bulgarian to have represented the WWE. He currently represents AEW and is a former United States and TNT champion. Before stepping into wrestling, he also competed in rowing, sambo, and powerlifting.

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 9 
Blagoy Ivanov
(Bulgarian MMA Fighter and Sambo Practitioner Currently Signed to UFC)
Blagoy Ivanov
3
Birthdate: October 9, 1986
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sandanski, Bulgaria

Bulgarian MMA fighter and sambo artist Blagoy Ivanov, also known as Bagata, has a gold medal in World Sambo Championships. Initially a talented judoka, he rejected an opportunity to represent his country at the Olympics and chose a career in MMA and sambo instead. He currently represents the UFC.

 10 
Stiliyan Petrov
(Bulgarian Former Professional Football Midfielder and All-Time Most Capped Player of the Country)
Stiliyan Petrov
6
Birthdate: July 5, 1979
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Montana
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 11 
Valentin Yordanov
(Bulgarian Freestyle Wrestler and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Valentin Yordanov
3
Birthdate: January 26, 1960
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ruse Municipality, Bulgaria

One of the most decorated wrestlers in history, Valentin Yordanov has not only won a gold and a bronze at the Olympics but is also a 7-time World and European Champion. He continued to represent Bulgaria even after moving to the US. He also served as the president of the Bulgarian Wrestling Federation.

 12 
Tsvetana Pironkova
(First Tennis Player of Bulgaria Who Reached Semi-Final of a Grand Slam in Singles)
Tsvetana Pironkova
3
Birthdate: September 13, 1987
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
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 13 
Valeri Bojinov
(Bulgarian Professional Football Player Who Plays as a Striker )
Valeri Bojinov
8
Birthdate: February 15, 1986
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Gorna Oryahovitsa
 14 
Stefka Kostadinova
(Bulgarian Retired Athlete and Former World Record Holder in High Jump)
Stefka Kostadinova
2
Birthdate: March 25, 1965
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria

Stefka Kostadinova is a Bulgarian former athlete whose world record of 2.09 metres in high jump has stood since 1987. One of the most respected athletes from Bulgaria, Kostadinova has won an Olympic gold medal, two gold medals in World Championships, five gold medals in World Indoor Championships, and four gold medals in European Indoor Championships.

 15 
Martin Petrov
(Retired Bulgarian Footballer Who Played as a Winger)
Martin Petrov
4
Birthdate: January 15, 1979
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Vratsa

Retired Bulgarian footballer Martin Petrov was known as an attacking midfielder. He has had successful stints with clubs such as CSKA Sofia and Atlético Madrid, winning the Bulgarian Cup with the former and the UEFA Intertoto Cup with the latter. He was named the Bulgarian Footballer of the Year in 2006.

 16 
Julian Kostov
(Bulgarian Actor, Filmmaker and a 10-Time National Swimming Champion)
Julian Kostov
3
Birthdate: August 25, 1989
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Varna, Bulgaria
 17 
Ivelin Popov
(Bulgarian Football Player Who Plays as a Midfielder)
Ivelin Popov
5
Birthdate: October 26, 1987
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgarian footballer Ivelin Popov started his youth career with Septemvri Sofia and later graduated to Turkish and Russian clubs. He won the Russian Premier League with Spartak Moscow and the Bulgarian Cup and Supercup with Litex Lovech. He has also been a Bulgarian Footballer of the Year thrice.

 18 
Jared Homan
(American Basketball Player Who Has Represented the Bulgarian National Basketball Team)
Jared Homan
2
Birthdate: March 6, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Remsen, Iowa, United States

American basketball player Jared Homan started his career with the Greek club Maroussi and later represented teams such as Bayern Munich and Maccabi Ashdod. He has also won the Croatian League and Croatian Cup with Cibona Zagreb and has represented the Bulgarian national basketball team.

 19 
Ivet Lalova-Collio
(Bulgarian Athlete Who Specializes in 100m and 200m Sprint Event and European Champion)
Ivet Lalova-Collio
2
Birthdate: May 18, 1984
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Five-time Olympian Bulgarian athlete Ivet Lalova-Collio is a master of the 100m and 200m sprint. She has been a European Champion and has won gold medals at the European Junior and Indoor Championships. He career almost ended after colliding with a fellow athlete during a warm-up session and breaking her right femur.

 20 
Kotoōshū Katsunori
(Bulgarian Sumo Wrestler and One of the Longest Serving 'ōzeki (Champion) in Sumo History)
Kotoōshū Katsunori
2
Birthdate: February 19, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Retired Bulgarian sumo wrestler Kotoōshū Katsunori was initially a Greco-Roman wrestler but switched to sumo after gaining weight. He scripted history as the first sumo wrestler from Europe to bag the Emperor's Cup and had been an ōzeki for 47 consecutive tournaments. He later became a Japanese citizen.

 21 
Serafim Todorov
(Bulgarian Amateur Boxer and Olympic Silver Medalist)
Serafim Todorov
2
Birthdate: July 6, 1969
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Peshtera, Bulgaria

Bulgarian amateur boxer Serafim Todorov is not just an Olympic silver medalist but also became the last man to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in a controversial bout which many thought Mayweather had won. A 3-time World and European champion, he was nicknamed Sarafa, or The Money-Changer.

 22 
Darius Adams
(American-Born Bulgarian Basketball Player Who Plays as a Point Guard)
Darius Adams
2
Birthdate: April 17, 1989
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Decatur, Illinois, United States

American-born Bulgarian basketball player Darius Adams started his senior career with the Venezuelan team Guaiqueríes de Margarita after going undrafted by the NBA. He later played for clubs from places such as France, Germany, Ukraine, and China, and now represents the American team Fort Wayne Mad Ants as a point guard.

 23 
Aleksandar Tonev
(Bulgarian Football Player Who Plays as a Winger)
Aleksandar Tonev
3
Birthdate: February 3, 1990
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Elin Pelin

Bulgarian footballer Aleksandar Tonev started his career with CSKA Sofia and then went on to play for teams such as Aston Villa and Celtic. He has also played for clubs in Italy and Poland. He now represents Botev Plovdiv as a winger and has also played for the Bulgarian national team.

 24 
Tervel Pulev
(Bulgarian Boxer and Olympic Bronze Medalist)
Tervel Pulev
2
Birthdate: January 10, 1983
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgarian boxer Tervel Pulev is not just an Olympic bronze medalist but also has 2 silvers and a bronze at the European Championship. He is the brother of heavyweight boxer Kubrat Pulev. He has held the WBA International and the European Union cruiserweight titles. He is also a 3-time Bulgarian Boxer of the Year.

 25 
Aleksandar Vezenkov
(Bulgarian Basketball Player Who Plays as a Power Forward / Small Forward)
Aleksandar Vezenkov
2
Birthdate: August 6, 1995
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nicosia, Cyprus

Bulgarian-origin basketball player Sasha Vezenkov was born in Cyprus and grew up in both Cyprus and Greece. He started his career with the Greek club Aris Thessaloniki and later also represented FC Barcelona. He now plays for Olympiacos and the Bulgarian national team. He is the son of former basketball player and coach Sasho.

 26 
Halil Mutlu
(Bulgarian-Born Turkish Weightlifter and 3-Time Olympic Gold Medalist)
Halil Mutlu
2
Birthdate: July 14, 1973
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Postnik, Bulgaria

Three-time Olympic gold medalist Bulgarian-born Turkish weightlifter Halil Mutlu has also been a 5-time World Champion and a 9-time European Champion. He also enjoys wrestling in his leisure time. He was disqualified from the 2005 Sofia European Championship due to a 2-year ban for testing positive for a banned steroid.

 27 
Dee Bost
(American-Born Basketball Player Who Represents the Bulgarian National Team)
Dee Bost
2
Birthdate: October 12, 1989
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Concord, North Carolina, United States

Though born in the US, basketball player Demarquis "Dee" Bost now plays for the Bulgarian national team. After going undrafted in 2012, he joined the Montenegro-based club Budućnost Podgorica. He has also played for clubs from France, Russia, Venezuela, Turkey, and Poland. He won the 2021 EuroCup with AS Monaco.

 28 
Magdalena Maleeva
(Bulgarian Former Tennis Player)
Magdalena Maleeva
2
Birthdate: April 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Retired Bulgarian tennis player Magdalena Maleeva has had a career-high ranking of 4 in singles and 13 in doubles. She is also a 2-time Olympian and has won 10 singles titles throughout her illustrious career. She is one of the three Maleeva sisters, the daughters of former tennis player Yuliya Berberyan.

 29 
Priest Lauderdale
(Retired American Basketball Player and One of the Tallest NBA Players Ever)
Priest Lauderdale
2
Birthdate: August 31, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Retired American basketball player Priest Lauderdale was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1996 NBA Draft. Known as much for his towering 7’ 4” frame as for his skills, he has represented clubs from countries such as Iran, Cyprus, Bulgaria, China, and Venezuela. While playing for Lukoil Academic, he acquired Bulgarian citizenship.

 30 
Yordan Yovchev
(Former Bulgarian Gymnast, Olympic Silver and 3-Times Bronze Medallist )
Yordan Yovchev
2
Birthdate: February 24, 1973
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
 31 
Viktoriya Tomova
(Bulgarian Professional Tennis Player )
Viktoriya Tomova
2
Birthdate: February 25, 1995
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
 32 
Dan Kolov
(Bulgarian Professional Wrestler, Mixed Martial Artist and Diamond Belt World Heavyweight Champion Twice)
Dan Kolov
2
Birthdate: December 27, 1892
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Sennik, Bulgaria
Died: March 26, 1940
 33 
Stanimir Stoilov
(Retired Bulgarian Football Player and Manager )
Stanimir Stoilov
3
Birthdate: February 13, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Haskovo
 34 
Keydren Clark
(Retired American Basketball Player Who Played at the 'Point Guard' Position)
Keydren Clark
2
Birthdate: October 8, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States
 35 
Karlos Nasar
(Bulgarian Weightlifter and Gold Medallist at the 2021 World Championships)
Karlos Nasar
2
Birthdate: May 12, 2004
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cherven Bryag, Bulgaria
 36 
Cedric Simmons
(Bulgarian Basketball Player Who Plays as a Power Forward or Center)
Cedric Simmons
3
Birthdate: January 3, 1986
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Shallotte, North Carolina, United States

Cedric Simmons is an American-born Bulgarian basketball player. Apart from playing for popular clubs like Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Olympiacos, Simmons has also represented the Bulgaria men's national basketball team. Over the course of his career, Cedric Simmons has won important championship titles like the FIBA Intercontinental Cup and the Estonian League Championship title.

 37 
Tsvetan Sokolov
(Bulgarian Volleyball Player)
Tsvetan Sokolov
2
Birthdate: December 31, 1989
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Dupnitsa, Bulgaria
 38 
Matey Kaziyski
(Bulgarian Volleyball Player Who Is a FIVB World Cup and World Championship Bronze Medalist)
Matey Kaziyski
2
Birthdate: September 23, 1984
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Nicknamed The Emperor, Bulgarian volleyball player Matey Kaziyski is not just an Olympian but also a FIVB World Cup and FIVB World Championship bronze medalist. Born to national volleyball player parents, he was naturally drawn to the game and also grew up playing basketball and football.

 39 
Yordanka Donkova
(Bulgarian Athlete Who Specalizes in 100m Hurdles and Olympic Gold Medalist)
Yordanka Donkova
2
Birthdate: September 28, 1961
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Yordanka Donkova was 5 when she lost 3 fingers on her right hand in an accident, but that didn’t stop her from becoming one of the best Bulgarian hurdling athletes. She not just won a World Indoor Championship silver but is also an Olympic gold and bronze medalist.

 40 
Evelin Banev
(Bulgarian Entrepreneur and Published Writer Who Was Imprisoned on Changes of Money Laundering and Drug Trafficking)
Evelin Banev
2
Birthdate: October 8, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Burgas, Bulgaria

Evelin Banev is a Bulgarian entrepreneur, published writer, real estate developer, and former wrestler. He came to limelight for his highly politicized and controversial prosecutions and imprisonment. Although he was sentenced to seven-and-a-half-years in prison in 2013, Evelin Banev was acquitted of all charges in 2014. Banev's 10-year-old daughter was kidnapped during his imprisonment and released unharmed two months later.

 41 
Stanislav Nedkov
(Bulgarian Mixed Martial Artist)
Stanislav Nedkov
2
Birthdate: December 9, 1981
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria

Bulgarian MMA fighter Stanislav Nedkov, also known as Stucky, was a freestyle wrestling national champion before he stepped into MMA. He is a Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has previously represented the American MMA promotion UFC. He is married to politician Yuliana Doncheva.

 42 
Stiliana Nikolova
(Rhythmic gymnast)
Stiliana Nikolova
1
Birthdate: August 22, 2005
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Cairo, Egypt
 43 
Christo Popov
(French Badminton Player and Former World Junior Number 1 in Boy’s Singles)
Christo Popov
1
Birthdate: March 8, 2002
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
 44 
Manuela Maleeva
(Tennis player)
Manuela Maleeva
2
Birthdate: February 14, 1967
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

While she initially represented Bulgaria, former world number 3 tennis star Manuela Maleeva began playing for Switzerland after her marriage to Swiss tennis coach François Fragnière. Politically vocal, the Olympic bronze medalist co-established the party Yes, Bulgaria! She also owns a foundation that helps disabled children.

 45 
Atanas Kolev
(Bulgarian Singer and Rapper Who Finished as a Runner-Up in 'X Factor Bulgaria')
Atanas Kolev
1
Birthdate: December 21, 1996
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Varna, Bulgaria
 46 
Dimitar Kuzmanov
(Tennis player)
Dimitar Kuzmanov
1
Birthdate: July 28, 1993
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
 47 
Adrian Andreev
(Bulgarian Tennis Player)
Adrian Andreev
2
Birthdate: May 12, 2001
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgarian tennis player Adrian Andreev had a successful junior career, scripting history as the second Bulgarian to win the US Open, though in doubles. He also bagged a Youth Olympics silver. He later has a career-high global ranking of 319 in singles and 653 in doubles.

 48 
Armen Nazaryan
(Greco-Roman Wrestler Who Has Won Olympic Gold Medals for Both Armenia and Bulgaria)
Armen Nazaryan
2
Birthdate: March 9, 1974
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Masis, Armenian SSR, Soviet Union

Three-time Olympian Greco-Roman wrestler Armen Nazaryan initially represented Armenia, his country of birth, but then switched to Bulgaria. While he won an Olympic gold and 2 European Championships for Armenia, he also bagged an Olympic gold and 4 European Championships for Bulgaria. He has also been a 3-time World Champion, representing Bulgaria.

 49 
Vladimir Stoychev
(Bulgarian Military officer, Diplomat and Olympic Equestrian)
Vladimir Stoychev
1
Birthdate: March 24, 1892
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria
Died: April 27, 1990

Vladimir Stoychev was a Bulgarian diplomat, Colonel General, and Olympic equestrian. As part of the Bulgarian Army, Stoychev took part in the Balkan Wars and the First World War. In the interwar period, Vladimir Stoychev competed at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics as an equestrian. From 1952 to 1987, he served as a member of the International Olympic Committee

 50 
Antoaneta Stefanova
(Bulgarian Chess Grandmaster and Former Women's World Champion (2004 - 2006))
Antoaneta Stefanova
2
Birthdate: April 19, 1979
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sofia, Bulgaria