Steve Elmasian, Varoujan Karentz Chosen ‘Olympic Kings’

By Harry Derderian

What a pair !

Varoujan Karentz has been an AYFer in fact and spirit since the late 1930’s.

King Varoujan Karentz (Photo: Mark Gavoor)
King Varoujan Karentz (Photo: Mark Gavoor)

He joined the AYF as a Junior and later became an active Senior member, serving on chapter executive many times as well as chairing. A frequent delegate to the AYF Convention, he was a force in the AYF Blue Book Educational Program.

As an athlete, he was Olympic high scorer on two occasions and was awarded the Ernest Nahigian Sportsmanship Award in 1947 and 1948. His wins were in pole vault, high jump, long jump, and 400-meter dash.

Talk about giving back.

Varoujan helped build and was a founding member of Camp Haiastan, and helped develop and later chaired the Armenian Youth Foundation. He has volunteered greatly over the years in his community and with wife Rose established the “Varoujan and Rose Karentz Scholarship Fund.”

His “AYFism” was passed along to three children as well as a grandchild who is a current active member.

Daughter Deneb was an outstanding swimmer and won many AYF Olympic medals.




Also chosen King, Steve Elmasian is another Providence example of “consummate” in all he has done.

King Stephen Almasian (Photo: Mark Gavoor)
King Stephen Almasian (Photo: Mark Gavoor)

An active AYF member as chapter executive and Olympic participant in the sprints, he went on to play a significant role with local Olympic teams. He assembled and coached his first Olympic team in 1983 and now, 32 years later, still serves in that leadership role.

His teams have now won 10 Olympic championships!

“I am honored to join the list of Kings,” he said. “A reward is seeing young members and athletes grow into long-time community activists and leaders… Mentors have shown me the way.”

Steve has also chaired Olympic committees for the past 4 Providence Olympics and served as ARF advisor to the AYF for 30 years.

Community wise, he has served on the ARF Gomideh, co-chaired the ANC of Rhode Island, and been treasurer of the church’s Men’s Club, organizes church picnic and bazaar committees and helps maintain the Armenian Martyr’s Memorial Monument.

In reflecting on the generations Varoujan and Steve represent, we can say that Varoujan and his peers and their sense of activism motivated the likes of others who followed, like Steve.

Adding to that, Steve’s achievement and sense of community will motivate the current AYF Seniors and Juniors.

This year’s Providence Kings truly represent the best of what the AYF and its culture is all about.

Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor

Guest contributions to the Armenian Weekly are informative articles or press releases written and submitted by members of the community.

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