PASADENA, Calif. — On Thursday, February 10, Greco-Roman wrestler Artur Aleksanyan, an Olympic gold medalist (2016), silver medalist (2021) and bronze medalist (2012) met with the student body of the St. Gregory Alfred and Marguerite Hovsepian School and also visited St. Gregory the Illuminator Church in Pasadena, CA. After exiting from the church, with the Armenian national anthem Mer Hairenik playing in the background and tri-colored flags waving in the air, the students warmly welcomed and cheered on Aleksanyan.
The program began with Shahe Mankerian, principal of the Hovsepian School (pre-K – 8th grade) welcoming Aleksanyan on behalf of the student body. Mankerian praised the beloved national hero of Armenia and Olympic champion from Gyumri, Armenia and thanked him for visiting the school. He then thanked the Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro Los Angeles chapter for helping to arrange today’s visit. Mihran Toumajan from the Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro Los Angeles chapter provided a brief biography about Aleksanyan to the students. Aleksanyan then humbly addressed the students and answered their questions one by one.
Mankerian introduced Carl Bardakian, chairman of the Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro Los Angeles chapter and former head coach of the Armenian National Basketball Team (2012-2015), who presented Aleksanyan with a copy of Avetis Bairamian’s Armenian language publication Armenian Sports Encyclopedia.
The program concluded with Principal Mankerian presenting Aleksanyan with a small gift on behalf of the school and each class having the opportunity to take photos with Aleksanyan. Afterwards, Mankerian led the champion on a tour of the school where he visited with the pre-school students.