Armenians land three medals, but still pursuing elusive gold medal in final days of Olympics

As of Wednesday, the best word to describe Armenia’s collective performance at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo is ‘bittersweet.’

On one hand, Armenian athletes brought home two silvers and a bronze medal this week, and that’s something to cheer about. But on the other hand, it feels like they should have a few more medals and a couple of gold ones, too.

On Monday, gymnast Artur Davtyan won the first medal for Armenia in the 2020 Summer Olympics in the vault apparatus. He averaged a score of 14.733 on two vault attempts and finished in third place for a bronze medal, but it was an infinitesimal 0.05 points shy of gold medal winner Shin Jea-hwan of South Korea. Nevertheless, Davtyan became the first Olympian representing Armenia to win a medal in the sport of gymnastics.


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A post shared by Artur Aleksanyan (@arturaleksanyan_)

Another close call for gold came on Tuesday, when 2016 Olympic gold medalist Artur Aleksanyan tried to become the first Olympian representing Armenia to win two gold medals in an Olympic career, but his efforts fell short because of sheer bad luck. 

In the semifinal match of the men’s Greco-Roman wrestling 97kg tournament, Aleksanyan defeated Iran’s Mohammad Hadi Saravi, but appeared to grimace in pain with under one minute remaining in the match due to an injury to his left leg. After receiving medical attention, Aleksanyan was barely able to finish the match in obvious pain and advanced to the final.

Aleksanyan battled through the injury less than 24 hours later in the final against longtime rival Musa Evloev of the Russian Olympic Committee. The Armenian champion appeared to struggle finding footing with his left leg throughout the match and was outmatched by Evloev, who secured his first Olympic gold medal. Aleksanyan took home the silver, but he did not put the medal around his neck during the ceremony.

“There’s a lot to say, but not now,” Aleksanyan wrote in an Instagram post on Wednesday. “We have what we have. With or without injury, I am always ready to fight for my COUNTRY. Thank you for the congratulations. I felt your support every second.”


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A post shared by Artur Aleksanyan (@arturaleksanyan_)

Simon Martirosyan, for his part, was unable to avenge a silver medal finish in the 2016 Olympics. He entered the match as the world-record holder in the 109 kg lift and had two chances to lift a whopping 238 kg barbell over his head to win gold. Unfortunately, he failed on both attempts and settled with silver.

Finally, the biggest controversy so far involving an Armenian came in the bronze medal match of the 77kg Greco-Roman wrestling tournament between Karapet Chalyan and Azerbaijan’s Rafig Huseynov. Huseynov was awarded two points by the referee in the dying minutes of the match due to an alleged headbutt by Chalyan, which NBC Sports analyst and two-time gold medalist John Smith claims came on incidental contact and shouldn’t have been called. Chalyan’s corner challenged the call, but it withstood and Huseynov was awarded an extra point due to the failed challenge.

“Put the whistle away,” Smith exclaimed during the broadcast. “There was a headbutt there — Huseynov maybe exaggerating a little bit — but they’re coming together! That shouldn’t be a game-changer. That type of scenario. That’s just wrestling. You’re going to get poked in the eye, you’re going to get popped in the nose… It’s wrestling! He’s not trying to bust — he’s not thinking about headbutting people when it’s one on one. He’s thinking about scoring and it gets tough!”

Chalyan could have had his first Olympic medal with a win, but instead finished on the outside-looking-in of the medal podium.

The biggest shock so far has been Arsen Harutyunyan’s performance in the 57kg freestyle wrestling tournament. Harutyunyan, who won silver at the 2020 Individual World Cup, was one of the gold medal favorites entering the tournament, but instead lost in his first match. 

The silver lining is that Armenians still have two really solid opportunities to win a gold medal in the final days of the Tokyo Olympics. 2020 Individual World Cup gold medalist Vazgen Tevanyan will compete in the 65kg freestyle wrestling tournament on August 6.

On that same day, Hovhannes Bachkov will continue his quest for gold in the lightweight boxing tournament in a semifinal match against Keyshawn Davis of the United States. Bachkov has obliterated opponents so far in the tournament. He defeated Azerbaijan’s Javid Chalabiyev via split decision in the Round of 16, then dominated Elnur Abduraimov of Uzbekistan in the quarterfinals on Monday. 


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A post shared by BACHKOV HOVHANNES (@bachkov_)

Finally, Adam Krikorian’s quest to lead the United States women’s water polo team to three straight gold medals is going swimmingly. The US defeated Canada by a score of 16-5 in the quarterfinals and will face the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) on Thursday in the semifinal.

Andre Khatchaturian
Andre Khatchaturian is a digital content producer at the New England Sports Network (NESN). At NESN, he has produced written and video content related to the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, combat sports and other trending national sports news. He has also produced content on location at two Super Bowls, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, NBA Playoffs and dozens of UFC fights. Andre is from Glendale, California and graduated from the University of Southern California with a bachelor's degree in mathematics. He moved to Boston in 2013, where he attended Boston University and graduated with a master's degree in broadcast journalism.


  1. Thank you. Another wrestler in 67 kg Greco Roman, Karen Aslanyan was the victim of an atrocious call. He pinned his Egyptian opponent in the quarter finals which would have guaranteed a chance to wrestle for bronze or even better put him one match away from competing for gold. The pin was overruled by a side judge who claimed his leg aided the move (not allowed to use legs to trip or move your opponent). He didn’t. It was a clean move and came as a shock to John Smith and Jordan Burroughs, the American announcers and three time gold medal winners between them. He was robbed. Literally. Despite the overturned call, Aslanyan head locked his opponent for a near pin to tie the match as time expired. He lost on criteria because of an earlier “caution” penalty, It is also important to note in Aleksayan’s gold match, his Russian opponent was given 3 penalty points on a bad call very early in the match (97kilos). The claim was that our man used his hands to prevent a move by the Russian. He didn’t. It was clear. Being behind by that much in a Greco Roman match where points are difficult to come against a fellow world champion gave him very little chance to win. The officials were far too involved in these matches and had they just let our boys wrestle they would have a better chance for a gold and possibly two more bronzes. The head but in the bronze match and the overruled pin were the worst calls of the tournament.

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