King of Rings discloses the secret of his success
YEREVAN, FEBRUARY 8, ARMENPRESS: Albert Azaryan, the winner of a gold medal in the rings at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, the 1954 and 1958 World Championships and the 1955 European Championships, is marking his 83d birthday anniversary. He was the first person to do one of the most famous exercises on the rings called the Iron Cross, Crucifix, or Azarian Cross in an international competition. Speaking to Armenpress, the master of gymnastics spoke about the way he passed.
- Mr Azaryan, it is necessary to go in for sports from early age. You started going to gymnastics from 16 years old. Which is your secret of victories?
- There is no secret. At that time there was one gym in Kirovakan (today’s Vanadzor) and weightlifters, boxers were training there. At that time we were trained during inter-district fights. During these years sport events were being organized in the Soviet Union. About hundred athletes were to participate from the USSR in the sport contests in Czechoslovakia. I was selected from Vanadzor together with some other guys. We departed for Moscow where we had to pass an “exam”. Many failed, like I did. One of the boys advised to go to Sviridov’s to show my figure, he was sure I would be selected. And it happened so. There I saw athletes implementing different exercises. It was fatal for me. After returning to Vanadzor I started majoring in gymnastics. I came to Yerevan, entered technical school of physical culture. In short period of time I reached noticeable results.
- If not gymnastics, what would you have chosen?
- I like all kinds of sport. I say to my athletes that a child must be trained from 5 years, train the muscles and then major in sport he/she likes. My goal is to bring up healthy generation. Currently Hrant Shahinyan and Albert Azaryan gymnastics schools are operating in Yerevan.
- Is there a difference between your times and today’s gymnastics?
- Of course, the difference is huge. Now there are multiple ways to train.
- But no one can do Azarian Cross.
- Yes, a great physical force is necessary for doing it. I was pupil of a forger. Now when I am being asked how to do crucifix, I say you must be forger’s pupil to be able to do it.
- Mr Azaryan, how many pupils does your school have and which are their latest achievements?
- There are about 380 children in our school. Today I cannot speak about achievements as we do not have the opportunities to reach desirable results. We have very good children but we cannot send them to international competitions because of financial issues. I consider international competitions as international training as during it children feel sense of responsibility and learn a lot of things.
- After “Atlanta 96” Arthur Davtyan, your pupil, is the second to participate in London summer Olympics. Do you believe in him?
- Arthur is an athlete I believe in. Arthur is well-trained. We will wait for his victorious return.
- Gymnastics has been inherited in your family. Your son has become Olympic champion. Will your grandchildren continue your “affair”?
- I have seven grandchildren but they have not chosen either my or their father’s path. They trained here for health. One of them is interested in wrestling, the other in boxing, and so on. From my four children only Edward became a sportsman, Olympic champion. We are athletic family, my wife was Armenia’s champion in “free exercises”.
- How will the “King of Rings” mark his birthday anniversary?
- You know I am becoming 38 years old (laughs). I always mark it with my staff. They initiate the festive part. Of course at home too I gather my relatives, friends. But the visit of my pupils is the greatest prize for me.