We are reader-supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.Β Learn more.

Who stands out among Bulgaria’s top athletes?

From the wrestling mats to the track and field stadiums, which names have made a mark?

Discover the most popular athletes from Bulgaria and learn how they have influenced their respective sports.

Also check out our post about theΒ most popular soccer players from Bulgaria.

#1 Hristo Stoichkov

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Football (Soccer)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1966
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 1994 Ballon d’Or Winner

Hristo Stoichkov, considered the greatest Bulgarian footballer of all time, has left a lasting legacy in the world of football. With his incredible talent and fiery personality, he’s inspired countless players and fans from Bulgaria and beyond.

His leadership and determination on the field have made him a national icon and a symbol of Bulgarian sports pride.

#2 Stefka Kostadinova

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Athletics (High Jump)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1965
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: World Record Holder and Olympic Gold Medalist

Stefka Kostadinova, one of the best high jumpers in history, holds the world record in women’s high jump. Her impressive athletic achievements and graceful jumping style have made her a legend in Bulgarian sports.

Kostadinova’s dedication and success in athletics earned her a place as a role model for young athletes and future generations.

#3 Grigor Dimitrov

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Tennis
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1991
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: Highest ATP Singles ranking of No. 3

Grigor Dimitrov, the most successful Bulgarian tennis player to date, has made waves in the professional tennis world. His exceptional talent and hard work have helped him achieve impressive results, including wins against some of the sport’s biggest names.

Dimitrov’s successes and sportsmanship have made him a respected figure in Bulgarian sports and an inspiration to aspiring tennis players.

#4 Tereza Marinova

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Athletics (Triple Jump)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1977
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: Olympic Gold Medalist and European Champion

Tereza Marinova, a renowned Bulgarian triple jumper, has made an outstanding impact in her sport. Her accomplishments, including an Olympic gold medal and European Championship victories, are a testament to her talent and dedication.

Marinova’s achievements have cemented her place as one of Bulgaria’s most successful and respected athletes.

#5 Yordan Letchkov

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Football (Soccer)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1967
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: Leading Bulgaria to the 1994 FIFA World Cup Semi-Finals

Yordan Letchkov, a prominent figure in Bulgarian football, is best known for his decisive goal against Germany in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, securing Bulgaria’s spot in the semi-finals. His skill and determination on the field have made him a celebrated athlete in his country.

Letchkov’s iconic World Cup moment remains ingrained in the minds of football fans and serves as an inspiration to aspiring players in Bulgaria.

#6 Ivet Lalova-Collio

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Athletics (Sprint)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1984
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: Fourth-place finishes in Olympics and World Championships (100m & 200m)

Ivet Lalova-Collio, a prominent Bulgarian sprinter, has showcased her tremendous speed and talent on the world stage. She has been a consistent contender in major competitions, posting impressive performances in both 100m and 200m events.

Lalova-Collio’s accomplishments and dedication to her sport have made her a role model for young track and field athletes in Bulgaria.

#7 Kaloyan Mahlyanov (Kotoōshū Katsunori)

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Sumo Wrestling
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1983
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: First Bulgarian to win a top-division sumo tournament

Kaloyan Mahlyanov, known as Kotoōshū Katsunori in the sumo world, is the first Bulgarian to compete in professional sumo wrestling and win a top-division sumo tournament. His success in the sport has made him a unique and celebrated figure in Bulgarian sports.

Mahlyanov’s groundbreaking achievements in sumo wrestling have opened doors for other athletes from Bulgaria to enter the sport and excel on the international stage.

#8 Petar Stoychev

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Swimming (Open Water)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1976
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 11-time FINA Open Water World Cup Champion

Petar Stoychev, the most successful Bulgarian open water swimmer, has dominated long-distance swimming for over a decade. His impressive achievements include 11 FINA Open Water World Cup titles and setting a record for the fastest English Channel crossing.

Stoychev’s dedication and relentless pursuit of success have made him an inspiration to Bulgarian athletes and swimmers worldwide.

#9 Yordanka Donkova

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Athletics (Hurdles)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1961
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist and Former World Record Holder

Yordanka Donkova, one of the greatest female hurdlers of all time, has made Bulgaria proud with her accomplishments. She is a former world record holder in the 100m hurdles and a 1988 Olympic Gold Medalist.

Donkova’s achievements in athletics and her lasting impact on the hurdling world have made her a revered figure in Bulgarian sports history.

#10 Maria Petrova

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Rhythmic Gymnastics
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1975
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 3-time World All-Around Champion

Maria Petrova, a highly accomplished rhythmic gymnast, has proudly represented Bulgaria on the world stage. Her incredible skill and graceful performances have won her three World All-Around Championships and numerous other titles.

Petrova’s outstanding success in rhythmic gymnastics has inspired countless young athletes in Bulgaria to pursue their dreams in the sport.

#11 Armen Nazaryan

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Wrestling (Greco-Roman)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1974
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2-time Olympic Gold Medalist

Armen Nazaryan, one of the greatest Greco-Roman wrestlers of all time, has brought immense pride to Bulgaria with his achievements. His remarkable career includes two Olympic gold medals and multiple world titles, making him a celebrated figure in Bulgarian sports.

Nazaryan’s achievements on the mat have created a lasting impact and inspired young wrestlers in Bulgaria and beyond.

#12 Kubrat Pulev

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Boxing (Heavyweight)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1981
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2008 European Heavyweight Champion

Kubrat Pulev, a formidable heavyweight boxer, has represented Bulgaria in the world of professional boxing with great success. Notable achievements include winning the European heavyweight title and competing against some of the biggest names in the division.

Pulev’s dedication and accomplishments in boxing have garnered respect and admiration from fans and fellow athletes in Bulgaria.

#13 Silvia Danekova

  • πŸ† Sport(s): Athletics (Steeplechase)
  • πŸŽ‚ Born in: 1983
  • πŸ₯‡ Biggest Achievement: 2021 European Team Championships Bronze Medalist

Silvia Danekova, a Bulgarian steeplechase athlete, has achieved success in various international competitions. One of her most notable accomplishments is a bronze medal at the 2021 European Team Championships.

Danekova’s hard work and perseverance in her sport have made her a role model for young Bulgarian athletes striving for success on the track.


Who is the greatest athlete in the history of Bulgaria?

Hristo Stoichkov, a former soccer player, is arguably the greatest athlete in Bulgaria’s history.

Who is the most popular female athlete from Bulgaria?

Ivet Lalova-Collio, a sprinter, is the most popular female athlete from Bulgaria.

Which sport has the most popular athletes from Bulgaria?

Wrestling has the most popular athletes from Bulgaria.

Which athlete from Bulgaria is the most popular internationally?

Hristo Stoichkov, a former footballer, enjoys the most international recognition among Bulgarian athletes.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning β€˜real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments