When you think of Armenia, downhill skiing is likely not the first thing that will come to mind.But Temple student Arman Serebrakian hopes he can change that.
On Wednesday morning he earned a respectable 46th place in Men’s Giant Slalom event. A total of 109 skiers took to the slope with 22 not even finishing the course.
Metro chatted with Serebrakian, live from Sochi where the Temple medical student discussedthe thrill of being anOlympic competitior, the conditions in Sochi, and representing his families’ country.
What has this entire experience been like?
Honestly it’s been pretty surreal, the whole experience. It’s not just about these two weeks, it’s been the whole year and leading up to this, taking this year off from school. I have experienced so much during this year. All the hours I’ve spent training, all the hard work my teammates and I have put into this. To the places I was able to visit that I never thought I would go to. The thrills, ups and downs of the season, and being able to get here, showing up and checking into my room.
Is it hard to get into a rhythm, to focus and to practice with so many distractions and other athletes there?
I’ve been working a lot on my mental skills and it’s very tough [to focus]. Even the best guys in the world circuit, the best skiers will tell you it effects you where you race. Everyone in the sport looks forward to the Olympics, everyone wants to do well here.
Can you talk a little about your ties to Philadelphia?
I moved to Philly for school in 2011. I lived in Center City, commuted on the Broad Street Line every day to North Philly, Temple has been great. I can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done and the support they’ve given me. Especially the administration and the staff there. And also my classmates in the medical school. It’s awesome to see their support. I will be back in Philly in May for school.
What led you to represent Armenia in the games?
I grew up in an Armenian family even though I was in the States. We speak Armenian at home, and in 2009 when I was skiing for the University of Colorado, someone contacted me from the Armenian ski team, we talked and I thought it would be great to start representing them.
Do you find yourself rooting for both Americans and Armenians?
I have a lot of friends who ski representing the U.S. and I root for them, as well as friends on other nations too. You like to see your friends do well.
How do you hope to perform in your Alpine skiing events?
My most important goal is to ski the best that I can. Like I said before, I want to ski like I know I can. I hate putting a number on these things, but I would love to have the best result that an Armenian skier has had in Alpine ski racing. That I think is totally possible. As far as a medal, that is a reach for me to be honest, but we’ll see.
Have you had any bad experiences in your room or in the Olympic village?
Nothing bad at all. There are three villages, the one I am at is pretty big and everything in my room is normal, pretty basic, no TV’s or anything in the rooms but I have had no problems and none of my friends have had problems. My family is here and there have been no problems for them either. They have been my No. 1 supporters, my parents and my sister (who skied in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver herself).
Have you been able to check out any other events? Meet any other interesting competitors?
It’s tough for me since my events are toward the end. You have to balance things, you don’t want to be fatigued or tired. And to watch these events is very tiring. We are working out all day so even standing for an hour watching is tiring at the end of the day. We went to watch the men’s freestyle moguls the other night, it was really cool. We have been watching a lot of the Alpine events because it’s our sport and it’s very interesting, and our training takes place there too. It’s cool, as an athlete with our passes, we get to walk up right to the finish line.
Follow Metro Philadelphia sports editor Evan Macy on Twitter @Evan_Macy