The pentathlon events were won by a junior transfer in her first Olympics and 23 year old veteran competing in this event for his fourth time. In the women’s competition, Greater Boston’s Lori Ganjian scored 1840 points to upend four-time champion Jessica Sarkisian from Philadelphia by 54 points. Two other 16 year-old athletes, Teny Topouzian from Detroit and Isabelle Suggs of the Middlesex West chapter, were third and fourth.
Philadelphia’s Aram Keshgegian and Boston’s Daron Hamparian faced each other for the third time in the pentathlon. In 2016, Aram placed second while Hamparian was only 47 points behind. Last year Hamparian emerged with the gold after Keshgegian had won in 2017 with Hamparian absent. This year Daron unfortunately pulled his hamstring while running the fourth event, the 200 meter dash. So Keshgegian won easily with 2334 points and Hamparian was edged out for the silver by Nerses Kupelian from New Jersey. Keshgegian’s teammate, Gevork Dramgotchian, placed fourth.
The women’s competition started with the shot put on Sunday morning. Topouzian threw almost 27’ to beat Sarkisian by about a foot and build an early 16 point lead. Ganjian was actually in last place at that point, almost 200 points in arrears. Ganjian did leap 14’5” to win the long jump but was still about 100 points behind the leaders who were virtually tied. The Nejdeh rookie surged to the lead by high jumping 4’8” which was 6” better than anyone else. She now had a lead of 53 points while Sarkisian and Topouzian were still separated by only four points. The 200 is where Ganjian broke open the competition with a time of 28.22 and expanded her lead to almost 300 points over Sarkisian. In the final 800 meter run, Sarkisian pushed hard all the way to stay ahead of Topouzian and won the event in 3:06.00. The time brought her total to 1786 points and was good enough to cut the lead down significantly. Topouzian recorded a total of 1574 points while Suggs had 1290.
The men began in the discus circle where Hamparian threw a personal best of 105’ to beat Keshgegian by over 10 feet. This gave him a lead of 65 points while Kupelian and Dramgotchian were over 180 behind. The two man race tightened when Keshgegian threw the shot 41’ which was about 4’ better than Hamparian, who was now eight points behind. Hamparian took the lead back in the long jump with a leap of almost 19’, about 4” longer than Kesghgegian. Going into the 200, the margin between the two was just 11 points with Kupelian and Dramgotchian over 500 points back. After Hamparian’s injury, the competition for the gold was over, and Keshgegian won the 200 in 25.84 and the 1500 in 6:17.00. While Hamparian continued to complete the event, he was not able to score points in those last two races and Kupelian was able to bring his total to 1610 points and win the silver by a single point. For his spirit and heart in completing the grueling event, Hamparian did receive the Ernest Nahigian Sportsmanship Award.