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An Armenian Teenager’s Small Olympic Triumph

When his skis broke, hopes for the country’s only Alpine skier to compete in Pyeongchang looked dim.

22 February 2018

Armenia’s Ashot Karapetyan (pictured) finished 42nd in today’s men’s slalom event at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics held in South Korea.


For 18-year-old, merely competing was something of a miracle. Unlike American skiing star Mikaela Shiffrin, who brought 35 pairs of skis, he arrived with just some borrowed skis, and they broke during a training run.


“I often have problems with equipment,” Karapetyan told, reports. “In previous [events] in Turkey and Iran, as well as here in Pyeongchang, I have been using my friend’s skis.”


Karapetyan, the only Alpine skier in Armenia’s three-person Olympic squad, said new equipment promised by the Armenian Olympic Federation failed to arrive in time for him to begin training. He was not even given a team uniform.


By the time two new pairs of skis and one pair of boots arrived last week, thanks to the national Olympic committee and the Armenian Ski Federation, it was too late to train for the men’s giant slalom event.


He managed to get in enough training to start today’s slalom, and although he finished only one place above last, Karapetyan managed to complete both runs, unlike some 60 other racers.



  • One Yerevan political analyst told Eurasianet Karapetyan’s equipment issues were likely linked to bad feelings over his being chosen to compete ahead of the nephew of the Armenian national head ski coach, Syran Harutyunyan. A flood of social media complaints about Karapetyan’s plight probably goaded the authorities into seeing that he got new skis, analyst Styopa Safaryan said.


  • Cross-country skiers Mikayel Mikayelyan and Katya Galstyan are also competing for Armenia at the games, which wrap up this weekend.

Compiled by TOL

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The Moldovan Diaries is a multimedia, interactive examination of the country's ethnic, religious, social and political identities by Paolo Paterlini and Cesare De Giglio.

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