Armine Barutyan (URS)

1981 USSR Children's Championships
1982 East Bloc Youth Tournament: 1st AA
1982 Moncada Meet: 1st AA
1982 Druzhba: 1st AA
1985 Belgium Masters: 3rd AA (tie), 1st V, 5th FX
1985 Druzhba: 2nd AA (behind Gurova)
1986 Medico Cup: 1st AA

Results courtesy of Beccy's Gym Page and television broadcasts

Armine Barutyan illustrates perfectly the depth of talent the Soviet Union once held...and that the Western sometimes never saw. Back-to-back titles at the 1982 East Bloc Youth tournament and prestigious Druzhba (Junior Friendship) tournament heralded Barutyan as one to watch in the upcoming years. Indeed, at the Druzhba meet she beat the much famed Tatiana Kim (URS) and future Olympian Simona Pauca (ROM).

Given Armine's successful 1982 season, one expected her to dominate - or at least compete - the junior circuit in the years to come. Oddly however, Armine apparently did not resurface on the international scene again until 1985. Ironically, part of Armine's problem may have been her tremendous difficulty. Throughout the years, Armine began performing skills that even nowadays are extremely rare (e.g., triple back off bars) or unheard of (e.g., double layout off beam). It has been said that the judges of the time simply did not know how to score her. Similar problems kept Olga Korbut at home - not competing abroad - during her early years.

Barutyan at the 2000 US Classic in Tulsa, OK. Image used with the expressed permission of Erin Long.

Armine resurfaced at the 1985 Druzhba tournament, placing second to Soviet hotshot Elena Gurova. With her talents and accomplished recognized, Armine was allowed to represent the Soviet Union at the then prestigious Belgian Gym Masters. Armine made the most of the meet, tying for bronze in the AA and winning top honours on vault.

In 1986, Armine fell one spot short of making the USSR's Junior European team. Instead, she was named the official alternate. Armine disappeared from international competition soon after this. Although she continued to train, "politics" continued to surface and kept her from graduating into the senior ranks from the junior team.

In 1990, International Gymnast magazine reported that Armine had immigrated to the USA. At the time she coached at Verdugo Gymnastics in Los Angeles. Armine now coaches alongside husband Al Fong at the Great American Gymnastics Express training center in Blue Springs, Mo. They currently coach US standouts Terin Humphrey, Sarah Shire, and Courtney McCool. 

. This page was created on July 17, 2000.


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