Born on 26.08.1957 in Plovdiv
Lyubomir Lyubenov began training in 1972 and immediately won a bronze medal from the State Championship for teenagers. The person, who attracted him to canoeing, was Vidyo Chipilski, who during his career remained his only coach. He became part of the national team in 1975. Days after his eighteenth birthday, he won the racing at C1 – 500 m at the 1975 State Men’s Championship in Pancharevo, Bulgaria.
Lyubenov competed for the Trakiya Army Sports Society. For the period from 1976 until 1977 he competed for the team of CSKA, where he was serving as soldier. His first major championship was the 1977 World Championship in Sofia, Bulgaria, during which he was competing in pairs with Borislav Ananiev. They finished fifth at 1,000 m and eighth at 500 m. A year later, Lyubenov became world champion with single boat (C1 – 500 m) at the Championship in Belgrade, Serbia. This was the first title for Bulgaria in the canoe discipline. From the 1979 Men’s and Women’s World Cup in Stuttgart, Germany, Lyubenov returned with a silver medal at single canoe at 1,000 m and with bronze at 500 m.
The 1980 Olympics in Moscow, Russia, were the pinnacle of his career. On 01.08.1980 he won silver medal at C1 – 500 m and a day later became a champion at C1 – 1,000 m. Thus, the Plovdiv citizen became the second Bulgarian after the gymnast Stoyan Delchev, who had won two medals at a single Olympic Games. He is also Bulgaria’s first and only athlete to win gold and silver medals from Olympic Games. The title in Moscow, Russia, was the first for Bulgaria in the history of canoeing. Lyubenov was ranked Bulgaria’s No 1 Athlete for 1980. In 1981 he won his last World Cup award – a bronze medal at double canoe at 500 m with Sevdalin Ilkov. Lyubomir Lyubenov has been honorary citizen of Plovdiv since 2001.