Let the Games Begin: 25 athletes will represent Armenia as Olympics start today in London

Armenia will be represented by 25 athletes in the 30th Olympic Games opening tonight in London. The Armenians will go against the world’s best in wrestling, weightlifting, boxing, judo, marksmanship, long jump, swimming, taekwondo, gymnastics and javelin.

President Serzh Sargsyan has traveled to London for opening ceremonies and to attend a reception offered on behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II.

Sports and Youth Affairs minister Hrachya Rostomyan, also the secretary general of National Olympic Committee of Armenia, believes that the number of Armenian athletes to participate in the Olympics is good but not enough: Greco-Roman wrestler Roman Amoyan, voted as Armenia’s best athlete, lost his ticket to the London Olympics after his failure to qualify in Finland’s international ranking tournament.

“All those who have been qualified to participate are potential medal-winners. We have expectations, and believe we will have better results than in Beijing,” said Rostomyan.

In Beijing Olympics 2008 Armenia was again represented by 25 athletes: 9 wrestlers, 6 weight-lifters, 4 boxers, 2 judo athletes, 1 marksman, and 1 swimmer. Among them three weightlifters and two Greco-Roman wrestlers won three Bronze medals each, and another three medals went to a boxer, for which the Armenian national team was called “the Bronze team”.

Before leaving for London, Rostomyan stated that the athletes are well-provided with all they need to have no worries and feel encouraged.

“Of course the Olympic town provides equal conditions to all athletes, but we have shown a little bit of an Armenian approach and have conveyed an Armenian breath to our athletes’ housing. For example, the windows and corners have Armenian flags, hallways have posters and pictures to remind of Armenia. We have created an Armenian environment and atmosphere, so that every moment our athletes fell like they are in Armenia,” he said.

To the best possible all of athletes’ and coaches’ demands have been met. Athletes have participated in educational-training gatherings and international tournaments. Apart from Tsakhkadzor gatherings, athletes also traveled to take part in similar events abroad. Great attention has been paid to medical assistance.

For the first time psychological assistance is available to Armenian athletes. Experts of Ayg psychological center will work individually with each athlete during the Games. There are also doctors and masseurs accompanying them.

By RA government decree Olympic gold winners will be awarded with 20 million drams ($50,000), and silver and bronze medalists will get 15 million ($37,500) and 10 million ($25,000) drams respectively. In the history of independent Armenia only Greco-Roman wrestler Armen Nazaryan has won a gold medal (in 1996 in Atlanta). Additionally, National Olympic Committee Gagik Tsarukyan has said he will pay $700,000 to any athlete who scores gold for Armenia.

In London, 203 countries will be represented competing in 36 sports categories. Around 9 billion viewers will follow the developments unfolding during the 16 days of the Games. According to BBC, the medals in the 30th Olympics are the most expensive and the heaviest in all of the history of the Games, reporting that 8 tons of gold, silver and bronze have been used brought from Moldova and the USA (State of Utah). Since Beijing the tariffs for gold and silver have doubled. Nonetheless, the London medals weigh 410 grams each versus the 200 grams of the Beijing medals.