Whatever Happened to
Artur Akopian?

Tribute courtesy of Larry.

For a detailed listing of Akopian's results, please visit Gymn Forum's Akopian Biography.

Arthur Akopian was part of the great Soviet dynasty of the late 1970's and early 1980's. As a junior competitor, he won many meets and was third at the 1979 Chunichi Cup. All indications pointed towards very successful Olympic and World Championship appearances. Unfortunately, even though he finished 6th at the 1980 USSR Cup, he was left off the 1980 Olympic team.

Akopian did go on to compete in the 1981 and 1983 World Championships, where he won several medals, but Olympic competition alluded him. As the 1984 Olympics approached, Akopian seemed a sure bet for the Soviet Union's Olympic team...but then the Soviet Union boycotted the Los Angeles games. Instead, the Soviet Union and satellite states participated in the much-talked-about Olomouc (Alternate) Games (where Soviet compatriot Olga Mostapanova scored a perfect 40.00 on her optional routines!). Sadly, Akopian's bad luck would follow him: he was again left off the team.

Despite his absence from the 1984 Olomouc team, many were looking to him to be a major factor in the AA at the 1985 World Championships, until an injury at the Soviet World trials sidelined him. The injury eventually forced him to end his career. In 1990, Akopian came to the USA to work with the US National women's program. This job keeps him on the road, travelling from gym to gym, and apart from his wife and son for long periods of time. Home is in Glendale, CA , where his son is a level IV gymnast. Gymnastics fans may recall seeing Akopian compete in the 1991 World Professional Championships, along with other gymnastics greats like Natalia Yurchenko, Elena Shushunova, Daniella Silivas, Aurelia Dobre, etc.

When Akopian visits gyms across the US, he educates the coaches and gymnasts on such things as weight. He regularly stresses the fact that artistry is absent from gymnastics today. Referring to the dance training that former Soviet gymnasts received, he told International Gymnast magazine that, "beautiful gymnastics comes from when you are 6-years-old."

Update! Akopian coached Vanessa Atler to the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin, China.

1999. This page was created on August 28th, 1999 and last updated on September 25, 1999.


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