RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (A.W.)—Armenia’s Olympic team won a total of four medals—one gold and three silver—at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which came to an end on Aug. 21.
A record number 33 athletes represented Team Armenia at the games—the most since 32 athletes participated in the 1996 games in Atlanta, Ga.
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 2016 Olympic Games on the bars, beam, floor, and vault, wearing her all-white leotard featuring a sequin Mount Ararat.
Simon Martirosyan (b. 1997) became Armenia’s first medal winner at the Olympics after winning a silver in men’s 105 kg weightlifting on Aug. 15. Martirosyan lifted a total of 417 kg, and placed second only to Ruslan Nurudinov of Uzbekistan, who set an Olympic record with a total weight of 431 kg. Martirosyan has previously won a gold medal at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympics and a bronze medal in the 2016 European Weightlifting Championships.
Armenia’s Migran Arutyunyan (b. 1989) won Armenia’s second silver medal, after falling to Davor Štefanek of Serbia in the Greco-Roman Wrestling 66 kg final on Aug. 16. Arutyunyan defeated the reigning 71 kg world champion, Azerbaijan’s Rasul Chunayev, 4-1 in the semifinal match to move onto the final.
Later in the same day, Artur Aleksanyan—the flag bearer at the closing ceremony, which was held on Aug. 21—won Armenia’s first gold medal at the games, after defeating Yasmany Daniel Lugo Cabrera of Cuba in the Greco-Roman Wrestling 98 kg final. Aleksanyan, the two-time reigning world champion, won back-to-back matches by technical fall in the quarterfinals and semifinals. He beat Turkey’s Cenk İldem in the semifinals.
During his medal ceremony, Aleksanyan wore a shirt with an image of Robert Abajyan—a junior sergeant killed in Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabagh/NKR) in early April. Abajyan was posthumously awarded with the “Hero of Artsakh” award, which is NKR’s highest honorary title. Abajyan, who was 19 years old when he was killed, is the youngest person to be awarded the title.
Gor Minasyan also won Armenia’s third silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Weightlifting (+105 kg) on Aug. 16. Georgia’s Lasha Talakhadze and Irakli Turmanidze won gold and bronze respectively. Minasyan had previously won a silver medal at the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.