Armenia finishes Tokyo Olympics with four medals, but no gold

It was a bittersweet end to the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo for Armenia.

In the final days of the Games of the 32nd Olympiad, the Armenians added a medal for a final total of four, but failed to capture an elusive gold medal despite a number of opportunities.

Hovhannes Bachkov had his sights set on gold, but instead earned Armenia’s fourth Olympic medal of the summer—a bronze in the men’s lightweight boxing tournament after losing to Keyshawn Davis of the United States in the semifinals last Friday.

While Bachkov had higher goals, he appeared to have come to terms with not winning the gold after becoming the first Armenian boxer to medal in the European Championship (gold in 2017), World Championship (bronze in 2017 and 2019) and Olympic Games. 

“The Olympic Games are over. I return with a bronze medal,” Bachkov wrote on Instagram after the fight. “During these many years I was able to win medals from all possible tournaments for Armenia — from Europe, the world and the Olympic Games. I only did not have an Olympic medal and was able to add to my collection.

 

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A post shared by BACHKOV HOVHANNES (@bachkov_)


“I could not repeat Vladimir Yengibaryan’s (1956 gold medalist for USSR) success in becoming an Olympic champion, but with this medal I became the only boxer in the history of Armenia to win medals in all major tournaments. With these victories, I was able to set an example to the new generation of boxers. I will try to make you happy with my victories for a long time. Thank you all, I love you, my Armenian nation. Thank you to my team, who are the best in their work.”

Team Armenia’s remaining medalists were Artur Aleksanyan (silver, Greco-Roman wrestling), Simon Martirosyan (silver, weightlifting) and Artur Davtyan (bronze, gymnastics). 

2016 gold medalist Aleksanyan and 109kg weightlifting world record holder Martirosyan had legitimate chances for golds, but Aleksanyan fought with an injured hamstring in the gold medal match and lost, while Martirosyan failed to lift his final two attempts of 238 kg over his head and had to settle for silver.

Davtyan was the bright spot of the 2020 Summer Olympics for the homeland, as he became the first athlete representing Armenia to medal in gymnastics. Artur Dalaloyan, who was representing the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), also had success in gymnastics, winning gold as part of the team all-around victory. Dalaloyan earned praise from teammates and media for competing months after shredding his Achilles tendon. 

Finally, a couple of coaches in the Diaspora won a pair of medals. Adam Krikorian added to his impressive gold medal collection after leading the United States women’s water polo team to its third consecutive Olympic victory. Krikorian has led his squad to 20 gold medals in 23 international competitions since taking over in 2009.

 

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Brian Goorjian also made history for the Australians, leading the Aussies to their first Olympic medal in men’s basketball after winning the bronze medal game against Slovenia. Goorjian was born in Glendale, California and attended Pepperdine University in the 1970s. He went on to have a successful basketball career as a player and coach in Australia after going undrafted in the NBA. 

“Thank you Australia for all your support,” Goorjian wrote on Instagram after winning bronze. “This is the greatest honor of my life and I’m so humbled to be a part of this special moment.”

 

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In the end, four medals put Armenia at 69th in the medal count. However, the Armenians won four medals with only 17 athletes—the lowest delegation sent by Armenia ever. To put that into perspective, nearly a quarter of Armenian athletes who competed in Tokyo won a medal. In comparison, Azerbaijan won seven medals (no golds) with 44 athletes (15.9 percent), and Argentina won just three with 189 athletes. 

So while Armenia couldn’t build on its gold medal performance from 2016 and failed on a couple of chances to do so, the nation walked away content for making the most of what it sent to Tokyo.

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.

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