Racine Hosts Junior Olympics

A Series of Interviews by Karoon Krikorian

A Series of Interviews by Karoon Krikorian
Chicago “Ararat” Junior Chapter

What is your favorite memory of Junior Olympics?

“My favorite memory is running the torch in the ceremony.” (Nadya Mahdasian, Racine)

“My favorite memory from Junior Olympics is definitely when I got my first medal last year in Detroit. I got second place for baseball throw.” (Alek Banklian, Chicago)

“My favorite memory of Junior Olympics was 1987 when Chicago won for the first time that I can remember in Detroit.” (U. Hagop Soulakian, Chicago)

What does this weekend mean to you?

50m dash (Photo: Vartkes Panossian)

“This weekend was an opportunity to reconnect with multiple people in different areas, and it gave me the opportunity to show my more athletic side to the Armenian community.” (Taleen Tchobanian-Boman, Detroit)

“This event means a great gathering of other chapters coming together, having fun, running track and making friends.” (Alek Banklian, Chicago)

“This weekend means a lot of things because it just shows that there’s a lot of good Armenian communities all around who help create a family outside of our hometown.” (Shant Demirjian, Chicago)

“It’s seeing old friends, meeting new friends, and passing on what our parents gave us, to our kids. It’s fantastic!” (Hagop Soulakian, Chicago)

“To me it means it brings together our youth and communities, builds comradery and friendships for many years…keeps the culture alive along with a lot of fun.” (Coach Hagop Ohanian, Chicago)

What is your favorite part of the Olympics and why?

Racine’s Chapter Dance—Sepastia Bar

“I loved seeing different people getting covered in money while trying to dance.” (Taleen Tchobanian-Boman, Detroit)

“My favorite part of Olympics is definitely just getting to see everybody and running track because I never really get to run track outside of this, so it’s fun especially since we do it with other chapters.” (Alek Banklian, Chicago)

“It’s about preserving your Armenian identity and community and being able to talk with friends that you’ve known five, six years plus.” (Shant Demirjian, Chicago)

“I love the competition. That’s what I loved when I competed, and that’s what I love now. But, the whole weekend is fun, after the competition everybody goes and gets with their friends and goes to the pool, so I love it all!” (Hagop Soulakian, Chicago)

“Being there for our brothers and sisters.” (Coach Hagop Ohanian, Chicago)

What’s your favorite part of the Olympics so far?

“The comradery of all the people getting together and making new friends from other chapters.” (Hovig Vartanian, Chicago)


1st place Chicago (2020 host chapter), 144.5 points
2nd place Detroit (2018 host chapter & winner), 107 points
3rd place Racine (2019 host chapter), 90.5 points
4th place Granite City, 31 points

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Founded in 1933, The Armenian Youth Federation is an international, non-profit, youth organization of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation (ARF). The AYF-YOARF Eastern United States stands on five pillars that guide its central activities and initiatives: Educational, Hai Tahd, Social, Athletic and Cultural. The AYF also promotes a fraternal attitude of respect for ideas and individuals amongst its membership. Unity and cooperation are essential traits that allow members of the organization to work together to realize the AYF’s objectives.

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