Gebeshian Makes Olympic History; Leaves Lasting Legacy on the Sport She Loves

Gymnastic Skill to be Named ‘The Gebeshian’

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (A.W.)—Armenian-American gymnast Houry Gebeshian made history on Aug. 7, by becoming the first female gymnast to represent the Republic of Armenia in Olympic competition. Gebeshian competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on the bars, beam, floor, and vault, wearing her all-white leotard featuring a sequin Mount Ararat.

Armenian-American gymnast Houry Gebeshian made history on Aug. 7, by becoming the first female gymnast to represent the Republic of Armenia in Olympic competition. (Photo: Armenian NOC)

“My goal was to bring Armenia on the map,” she told the Wall Street Journal after her performance.

Gebeshian is also likely to have a gymnastics skill named after her, following her Aug. 7 performance on the uneven bars—a routine that included a 360 degree turn to get from the low bar to the high bar—in what she calls “The Gebeshian.” (Watch her performance on the uneven bars here)

Gebeshian is likely to have a gymnastics skill named after her in a routine that included a 360 degree turn to get from the low bar to the high bar, in what she calls ‘The Gebeshian.’ (Photo: Armenian NOC)

Gebeshian finished her routine by kissing the uneven bars and went on to kiss the other pieces of equipment on her subsequent performances. “I just wanted to thank the sport,” she told the Wall Street Journal.

Though she did not qualify for the final medal round, Gebeshian says she accomplished all she wished for coming into the Games. “What more could I ask for? [I] Loved my ‪‎Olympic experience. [I] was smiling the entire time,” said Gebeshian in a post on her official Facebook page following her performance.

Gebeshian finished her routine by kissing the uneven bars.

Born in Auburndale, Mass., to parents Hagop Gebeshian and Christine Abrahamian, Gebeshian placed 21st out of 36 competitors at the Pre-Olympic Test Event in Rio de Janeiro on April 17, which earned her a spot at the Olympic Games in Rio.

Houry’s Olympic journey began more than six years ago. “One of my dad’s friends [Paul Varadian] was on the National Olympic Committee of Armenia and they were looking for female athletes—they don’t really have many female representatives. He asked if I would be willing to compete for Armenia, and I thought, ‘Why not?’” she told the Armenian Weekly in March. Armenia’s Olympic Committee helped Gebeshian obtain Armenian citizenship and she has been competing for the country ever since.

‘My goal was to bring Armenia on the map.’ (Photo: Armenian NOC)

Gebeshian was born and raised in an Armenian household—speaking the language, eating the food, and embracing all the customs that come along with Armenian family life. “I grew up in a very Armenian household, which spoke the language and maintained the customs and traditions.” Today, she is proud and fortunate to be a part of what she calls a “vibrant” Armenian community in Cleveland.

Houry’s Olympic journey began more than six years ago. (Photo: Armenian NOC)




31 Comments on Gebeshian Makes Olympic History; Leaves Lasting Legacy on the Sport She Loves

  1. You are a true Armenian inspiration, our champion. We all love you and are extremely proud of you.

  2. Very proud of you!!

  3. Goosebumps!

  4. Shnorhavor, Houry!

  5. avatar Henry Anmahian // August 8, 2016 at 2:03 pm // Reply

    Beautifully done!! As fellow-Armenians, we are all very proud of you!!
    Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

  6. Houri, Congratulations, You are the winner of a PLATINUM MEDAL….. and Yes you did put Armenia on the Map….

  7. Houry was actually close to qualifying for the finals missing by less than 1.5 points. Excellent job!

  8. avatar Chris Jones // August 8, 2016 at 2:35 pm // Reply

    Congratulations, Gebeshian! You are, and forever will be, an Olympian…as well as a proud Armenian! :)

  9. avatar Taline Gharibian // August 8, 2016 at 2:48 pm // Reply

    Very proud and fortunate to have you represent us in Rio Houry. Best of luck to you in all your endeavors ????????

  10. God bless! Keep up the good work!

  11. Armenia lives through the commitment to action from those such as Houry Gebeshian. Thank you Houry!

  12. Brought up with the traditions of Lebanese Armenian Community. A bright, hard working and educated Armenian, and above all a very gifted gymnast. Apris Hayorty!

  13. avatar Paula Quatromoni // August 8, 2016 at 4:53 pm // Reply

    Inspiring and impressive! There is nothing more exciting than seeing a true competitor live her dreams and become an Olympian, and to be so happy and so grateful in every moment of it!

  14. avatar Roberta/Gerry Balian // August 8, 2016 at 7:40 pm // Reply

    I can’t believe you did not qualify. You did everything perfect. Don’t give up! Very proud of you.

  15. Thank you for embracing and willing to represent your own country when many have not taken that stance.

    We are proud of you no matter what. Keep the Armenian flame burning inside you ..

  16. Houry. We are so proud of you. You have truly inspired so many around your and across the world. Bravo

  17. To me, the image of Mount Ararat on her chest is more noble, more noteworthy, and more commendable than a gold medal on her chest. Congrats to our patriotic champion. A few Armenians have won Olympic gold throughout our history, but this is the first presentation of Armenian pride at the games. Bravo.

  18. avatar Juliet Gevorkoff // August 8, 2016 at 10:12 pm // Reply

    Hoyri Jan. My name is Juliet Gevorkian ( Gevrokoff) and just like you I participated in 18 Olympic Tokyo from Iran in Shot put and Discus I think I am the first Armenian girl participated in Olympic. I am happy and very proud of you beacouse I know you worked hard for your goal. I wish you the best . And now my grand daughter is doing gymnastic and she loves it so much

  19. avatar Samvel Topchian // August 9, 2016 at 12:51 am // Reply

    Not enough gold in an entire Olympics to substitute this beautiful smile. Armenian girl -Armenian Spirit and Energy!

  20. avatar Armen Anooshian // August 9, 2016 at 1:19 am // Reply

    Fantastic congratulations

  21. avatar Վարդան Թովմասեան // August 9, 2016 at 2:34 am // Reply

    Կեցես ով ՀԱՅ աղջիկ Անունդ թող մնայ յաւիտեան անմոռաց եւ մեզ պարծաքի մի դրօշ, եւ դառնաս ներշնչումի աղբիւր մեր մազիկներուն:ԿԵՑԵՍ….ԿԵՑԵՍ ……

  22. avatar Kathryn Malconian // August 9, 2016 at 7:53 am // Reply

    So very proud of you Houry Gebeshian!!!
    Job well done and accomplishing a milestone for all Armenians. You are beautiful. Keep going!!!
    God Bless❤️????????

  23. avatar Sarkis Kalfayan // August 9, 2016 at 9:23 am // Reply

    Never forget the Armenian people, way to go!!

  24. What an inspiration for the young and older Armenians.

  25. avatar Charles & Ophelia Menzigian // August 9, 2016 at 3:25 pm // Reply

    BRAVO Houry ! We as Armenians are happy and proud of your accomplishments. You are a wonderful example of hard work and determination for the young generation of Armenians.

  26. avatar Diane Boyajian // August 9, 2016 at 6:26 pm // Reply

    Congratulation. I was born in Fresno, CA. in 1936, you never heard Armenia mentioned outside of home and church. It’s about time we proudly showed who we are. God bless you.

  27. Congratulations Houry! You are an inspiration and it was really fun to follow your journey at the Olymics.

    All the best,
    Betty Tiro (Jay’s Aunt!)

  28. avatar Alice Hacherian // August 10, 2016 at 11:49 am // Reply

    Cleveland Armenians are extremely proud of you ????????????!!!

  29. avatar Mr. and Mrs. Ganim // August 12, 2016 at 8:03 am // Reply

    Houry, your family of gymnasts and coaches at Gymnastics World are so proud of everything about you! Watching you train for two years has been an inspiration to all of us!

  30. avatar mouradian Olivier // August 16, 2016 at 1:28 pm // Reply

    On est tous fiers de toi Houry Jan !
    Vive l’Arménie

  31. Congratulations, Houry! As a former Cleveland, and now living in Massachusetts, I am so proud of you and all that you have done to bring Armenians more attention in the Olympics….kudos!!

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