Armenians around the world will have their attention focused on Beijing over the next three weeks as six Armenian athletes aim to win the country’s first-ever Olympic Winter Games medal at the XXIV Olympic Winter Games.
Headlining the Armenian team are Tina Garabedian and Simon Proulx-Senecal, who will compete in the ice dance figure skating event. Garabedian and Proulx-Sénécal are the first Armenians to qualify in ice dancing.
Garabedian and Proulx-Sénécal’s road to Beijing was tumultuous. During a spring qualifying event, the duo were disqualified due to a false positive COVID test despite many improvements in their performance scores over the past few years. They were finally able to qualify for the CS Nebelhorn Trophy 2021 competition in Germany by placing fourth in the event in September.
“It was a roller coaster,” Senecal said at the time. “I think it was just a homecoming. We were like, ‘Let’s do this, treat ourselves and give ourselves a present.’ We’ve worked hard over the past 20 years to get to the Games Olympics, so let’s do everything we can to make that happen.
“I think we know what we are worth and all that we have done,” added Garabedian. “It was really amazing to show people and for them to see this progression. I’m glad we had a really good performance.
The ice dance competition begins on February 4.
Three cross-country skiers and one alpine skier also represent Armenia.
Mikayel Mikayelyan is making his second cross-country skiing appearance at the Winter Games. He was the flag bearer during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Meanwhile, Katya Galstyan is making her third appearance in cross-country skiing. Galstyan was the only Armenian woman to represent her country at the 2014 and 2018 Winter Games, but she will be joined by first-time Olympian Angelina Muradyan, who will also compete in cross-country skiing.
Harutyun Harutyunyan is the only Armenian competitor in alpine skiing.
Armenia has never won a medal at the Winter Olympics. Grigory Mkrtychan (1956, USSR) and Vicki Movsessian (1998, USA) are the only two Armenians to have won a medal for other nations at the Winter Games. Both were on gold medal winning hockey teams in their respective years.