is colder in the skating rink hall than outside,
where the temperature is minus six Celsius.
But the cold is forgotten about, watching four
to six year old children skimming on the ice shining
like a cut-glass.
Six -year-old Garik Mkrtchyan says proudly: "I
asked my parents to take me to figure skating
classes myself. I fall often and it's painful,
but anyway I decided to become a world champion."
Almost all the students of Yerevan Children's
Figure Skating School are determined like Garnik
to become champions. Eight-year-old Mane Ghevondyan
and Lianna Babakhanyan started to attend school
since age four. They say they come for training
every day, work hard and have one wish -- to have
a larger skating rink.
The skating rink of the school is 30 meters wide
and 30 meters long, only half a long as international
"For children these parameters are acceptable,
but they are not appropriate for the further development,"
says deputy director and head of studies Vrezh
Mavyan. "Thus, we send the best students
for training to other countries in order to let
them improve their skills."
The school has operated since 1975, and the building
shows the effects of age and disrepair. The changing
rooms and sports hall are in shambles. But for
the management of school it is most important
to preserve the skating rink.
"It is a rather complicated thing to preserve
a skating rink," Mavyan says. "This
is the third academic year we manage to maintain
it for nine to 10 months (from September to June)."
ago they were getting frozen salted water for
the skating rink from Nairit scientific and production
union. But after Nairit closed the school operated
with breaks. Now, thanks to philanthropists, the
school has its own freezing station.
"We do everything by ourselves. Our main
goal is to preserve the school, to preserve this
sport in the Republic. We are grateful to Shengavit
Municipality, which cares for the electricity
costs of the school," Mavyan says.
Today there are 230 children training in the
sport school. There are 18 groups functioning.
In addition to figure skating children do gymnastics
and choreography. Education is free.
Trainer Alina Badalyan is in the school since
1972. She started as a student, and since 1980
continued as a trainer.
"Figure skating is my life. My whole day
passes here," she says, adding that among
her students is Aramais Grigoryan, who participates
in international competitions including the recent
In its first 13 years the school prepared many
prize-winning athletes for the Soviet Union. Today
there is a hard-working group preparing for the
International Youth Competition in Ljubljana,
Slovenia February 5-10.
Among them is 10-year old Emil Danielyan who
has been figure skating for three years.
Emil is preparing a program accompanied by music
from the movie "Gladiator".
"I will perform as a soldier," he says.
getting to Slovenia Armenian children will train
in one of Moscow's skating rinks for a few days.
This year the best students went to Moscow for
trainings. Due to director Samvel Khachatryan's
personal connections the skating rink was granted
to students for free, while normally it would
cost $200 an hour to rent.
The Yerevan Children's Figure Skating School
is a full member of the International Figure Skating
Federation since 1995. Mavyan says they have close
relations particularly with the Canada Figure
"President David Dor is a great person for
us; he helps us to solve many problems,"
Mavyan says. "For the third year they provide
school with skates, which children use by passing
to each other. The USA Figure Skating Federation
also helps. We get assistance from the secretary
of our federation American Armenian Paul Varadyan.
He constantly provides us with the best clothes
The school has significant plans for the future.
They will participate in the Youth World Championship
taking place in Czech Republic in the end of February,
and the Youth World Championship in Washington
in March and another competition in Moscow in
"Figure skating is not only sport, but also
art," says trainer Garik Tsaghoyan. "My
only wish is to take my students to the top of