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2017 AYF Olympics: And the Winner Is…

Anyone’s guess! With Greater Boston’s win in 2016, we have now had four different Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Olympic champions over the past four years, and it’s been nine years since a champion has repeated. Is this the year of a repeat, a copycat, a virtual home field advantage, a 2006 repeat, a rising together again, or a brand new champion? Let’s take a look…

This year’s Armenian Youth Federation (AYF) Olympic Games are here in Downtown Milwaukee and hosted once again by the AYF-YOARF Racine “Armen Garo” chapter, Aug. 31-Sept 4.

It took over 30 years for a Beantown chapter to win another Olympics, and the Greater Boston “Nejdeh” chapter did it with a collective effort of four high scorers and a cohesive team of 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers. It took a while to build the right combination as their point totals built over the past few years, but they finally did it… and they did it on the road. But are they willing to go on a real road trip and repeat?

The New Jersey “Arsen” chapter must have been taking notes of Greater Boston’s road to victory because they have also been building their point totals over the past few years. Last year they took 3rd place and finally broke the 100 point mark in front of their hometown fans and could possibly win on the road like the Nejdehs. But are they ready to take the next step?

Detroit should be laughing by now. In 2014, on their home field, they simply outnumbered the competition and walked away with the victory; 2017 could be the same as the KT kids can motor around Lake Michigan, instead of flying, and take the checkered flag without breaking a sweat. But under similar circumstances in Milwaukee in 2006, Detroit was a no show and Philadelphia won the first of their three Olympic Championships. Et tu, Sebouh?

The Philadelphia “Sebouh” chapter has made it a habit of winning anywhere, anytime, as four of their five championships have come on the road, including their first three in a row to retire their only Olympic Cup. Although they have lacked some of the high-scoring athletes of their past, they have consistently scored high with a tough team that is willing to grind out the points. The Sebouhs will be a team to be reckoned with and they proved in 2006 that they like it in Milwaukee. But did they like it enough?

The Providence “Varantian” chapter took a year off last year, going from first place to fifth and losing 80% of their points. Was it burn out after hosting and winning the 2015 Olympics, or did they decide to take a year off and lull the competition into a deep sleep. Time will tell what their strategy is. Has anybody seen that pesky phoenix?

Anyone else? It’s been over 10 years since the Chicago “Ararat” chapter won their first (and only) Olympic championship on their home field. Heck, they’re even closer to Milwaukee than Detroit is (only 70 miles), and their Juniors, who are now transferring to their Seniors, have started to beat the Detroit Juniors at the annual AYF Midwest Junior Summer Olympics. Could Chicago make it a 5th champion in five years?

AYF Olympic Applications are available at www.ayf.org as of July 21.

For more information, stay tuned to this column or go to www.ayfolympics.org, https://www.facebook.com/AYFOlympics/ or https://twitter.com/ayfolympics.

“Oor eh? Hos eh!”

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