Just a few minutes ago I was able to watch Ani-Matilda Serebrakian cross the finish line at the end of her run in the Slalom competition at the Winter Olympic Games. She came in at 68th place, beating Serbia, Iran, Lebanon, and China. The American favorite Lindsey Vonn did not finish.
I watched the competition on Eurovisionsports.tv on the Internet, but just barely because I couldn’t watch more than 10 seconds of video at a time before the transmission froze for an additional 10 seconds. Public Television, conforming true to its lackadaisical coverage of the Olympics, did not bother to televise the Women’s’ Slalom Race live, even thought it would have been the last opportunity for Armenian nationals to root for an athlete representing their country at the games. Instead, they showed highlights of the Men’s Curling competition.
Anyway, this post is about Ani. I was bummed out to hear that she did not finish the Grand Slalom race on Thursday but was hoping hard for the Slalom. It was sheer chance that I was able to catch her run at the very moment when the video was loading, and when I thought she had been disqualified at a moment where she actually stopped going downhill, but was indeed still standing, I was disappointed for her. Just the same, she completed her run anyway. Then seconds later the standings showed that she did in fact finish. Amazing.
Fantastic job, Ani. We’re all very proud of you!
UPDATE: As of 12:15 am (Yerevan time) the event judges ruled that Ani was disqualified. We’re still proud of you!
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