Attracted by America, Jean-Claude gets back to the USA in 79 and 80, but in California this time. He decovers the famous “Gold Gym” and meets the one who
will become his first wife : Melly. Back in Belgium, he decides to open a Bodybuilding gym in Brussels : the “California Gym”. The bodybuilding gym is a big success. Jean-Claude trains for hours, he
muscles up naturally till he weights 99 kg and he lifts 166 kg at the bench!
But his projects are elsewhere : the movies! How to get there? He multiplies his contacts in Brussels, Paris, in vain. There is
only one way : the United States …. 1982 – The young Van Varenbergh finds himself in Los Angeles, he doesn’t know a word of English, doesn’t have any references… His
name being quite hard to pronounce, Jean-Claude opts for Van Damme. He works out very much, but he has to find work to survive : cab driver, pizza deliveries, dance teacher, etc…
For four years, the young Belgian tries to meet producers and big actors : Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris. The latter gives him
a bit-part in “Missing in Action I”. Other little parts are offered to him, as in “No Retreat No Surrender”. But Jean-Claude knows he can do much better. He then decides to risk it all.