Last night I was watching highlights of the Oympic Games on public television. All but three Giant Slalom skiers finished except for a Turk, a guy from South Africa who seemed to have stepped out of the gate at the wrong time, and the Armenian, Arsen Nersisyan (today’s standings show that several skiers were determined to have not finished after the fact).
Nersisyan ended up falling near the end of his run. The whole time he looked wobbly on his skis, as if he was on the verge of wiping out, and sure enough he did. He simply didn’t have the form that other skiers displayed. Even participants from small island countries like San Marino near Italy finished. For a country that is mostly covered by mountains, you would think we would have a stronger men’s alpine skier to participate in the Winter Olympics.
The president of the National Olympic Committee of Armenia is Gagik Tsarukyan, who is one of the richest and powerful men in the country. I don’t think anyone knows how much he’s actually worth–supposedly his wealth amounts several hundreds of millions of dollars. Some people think he is actually a billionaire. So you would think he would be spending some serious cash on churning out top athletes to compete. But judging from Nersesyan’s pitiful performance, that’s obviously not the case. And I don’t know if he really cares.
I’d like to know why Armenia didn’t send a stronger team this year. If anything, we should be excelling at skiing, but we don’t. Nevertheless, we should be somewhere within the 50th percentile of alpine skiing finalists, in my opinion.
I should add that I watched live on TV Gyumri native Kristine Khachatryan, who participated in the 10 km Cross-Country freestyle race last week, finish in 76th place. Third from last, but she finished, and I was very proud to see her cross the finish line.
Let’s hope that Ani-Matilda Serebrakian, who is an Armenian-American, fairs much better in the Ladies’ Slalom and Grand Slalom competitions. I’ll keep you posted.
In the photo: Aksel Lund Svindal (Norway) – Alpine Skiing (Men’s Giant Slalom)
Photo credit: The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games