RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (A.W.)—A record number 33 athletes will be competing for Team Armenia in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; it’s the most since 32 athletes participated in the 1996 games in Atlanta, Ga.—Armenia’s first post-independence Olympic Games.
Most recently, Armenian swimmers Vahan Mkhitaryan and Monika Vasilyan qualified and joined the 31 Armenian athletes who had already earned their spots in the tournament.
Armenian-American gymnast Houry Gebeshian, 26, will be the first female gymnast to represent Armenia at the Summer Olympics. Gebeshian placed 21st out of 36 competitors at the Pre-Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro on April 17.
“I can’t train as much as, say, a 16-year-old can. I have been doing this sport for about 20 years, so my body is a little more broken down. But I actually feel the best I’ve ever felt; I’m doing the best gymnastics I’ve ever done. That comes with adjusting my schedule and training to accommodate to being a competing 26-year-old,” Gebeshian told the Armenian Weekly in March.
Gymnastics has a long history in Armenia. Soviet-Armenian gymnast Albert Azaryan is considered the most decorated Armenian Olympian, winning three gold and one silver for the Soviet gymnastics team. Since Armenia’s independence in 1991, however, no athlete representing Armenia has won an Olympic medal in the sport. Gebeshian now has the chance to make history by competing as the first Armenian female gymnast in the Olympic Games.
Recently, USRowing—a non-profit membership organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States—reported that Armenian American Nareg Guregian, along with his teammate Anders Weiss, will compete in his first Olympic Games in pair’s rowing after qualifying at rowing’s U.S. Olympic Trials II on Mercer Lake in West Windsor, N.J. Guregian, an alumnus of the AGBU Manoogian-Demirdjian School in Canoga Park, Calif., will be competing for Team USA.
The Olympic Games are due to take place in Rio de Janeiro, from Aug. 5 to 21.
Below is the full list of the athletes representing Armenia at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Substitute – Vanik Avetisyan