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."
coached Vanessa Atler to the 1999 World Championships in Tianjin,
© 1999. This page was created on August
28th, 1999 and last updated on September 25, 1999.