RIO DE JANEIRO (Excellesports.com) — As a young gymnast, Houry Gebeshian remembers having two particular role models. One was close to home, an older girl named Nicole Langevin who trained at her gym. The other came from the biggest gymnastics stage, 1996 US Olympian Dominique Moceanu.
“[Moceanu] was the small, Eastern European girl who was rock solid and her favorite event was beam. I felt like I could relate to her,” Gebeshian said in a phone interview with Excelle Sports.
But this is where her storyline diverges from the usual narrative for a female gymnast. It is only now, 20 years after seven-year-old Gebeshian saw herself in Dominique Moceanu, that she finds herself with another similarity to her childhood idol: the status of Olympian.
“I’m a mature adult who has a full-time job who is funding myself, who is coaching myself to make my dream a reality,” Gebeshian summarized. She followed the reverse trajectory of most female gymnasts: after finishing up a successful NCAA career at Iowa and graduating in 2011, she decided to give competing internationally a go.
Now, she has made history as the first female Armenian gymnast representing the country.