How mind-blowing would it be to be operated on by a surgeon who also participated in the 2014 Winter Olympics? Arman Serebrakian plans on conquering the leaps and bounds it takes to accomplish both of those mountainous goals.
Serebrakian is a Temple medical student who took the year off from pursuing his graduate degree in order to pursue his goal of representing Armenia by skiing in the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Serebrakian is an alpine skier with the Armenia Ski Team. His passion for this sport began during childhood with weekend trips to the mountains in Lake Tahoe, CA, accompanied by his Armenian parents and sister.
“I started skiing when I was 1 ½ years old,” Serebrakian said. “I joined a ski racing team when I was five in Lake Tahoe.”
The natural sibling rivalry between Serebrakian and his sister Ani is pertinent in many families. Both siblings were on the same club teams during the majority of their childhood. The Serebrakians did their collegiate skiing in different universities: Arman at the University of Colorado while his sister went to the University of San Francisco.
Ani was one of four athletes to represent Armenia in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. It was that same year that Arman got the call telling him he would not be able to participate like his sister.
By taking this year off to focus solely on training, Serebrakian said he hopes to better his rank in the top 500 skiers in the world.
“As of now, I am qualified.” Serebrakian said. “I probably won’t receive the confirmation call until January of 2014.”
Even with the added pressures of med school and intense training regimens, Serebrakian said he finds time to have somewhat of a social life.
“If I need a night to relax, I will hang out with friends,” he said. “But as I get closer and closer in training my social life will have to be put on hold for a long while.” His weekly routine consists of five to six days in the gym, despite the copious academic workload required to become a surgeon.
Serebrakian is currently training in Oregon, and will be in New Zealand beginning in mid-July. After that, he will join the international race circuit in Europe and North America anticipating a higher world rank. He said he began travelling to the best snow conditions around the world in May of 2013.
Having a dual citizenship in Armenia and America enables Serebrakian’s dream to represent Armenia in the Winter Olympics.
“It wasn’t really planned out,” Serebrakian said. “I decided to get a dual citizenship about six years ago. I was born in the San Francisco Bay Area, but my parents are 100% Armenian, so I decided to do it to embrace my heritage.”
A native Californian, Serebrakian explained his motive to go far from home in attending Temple University’s medical school.
“Philadelphia isn’t consumed by private hospitals,” he said. “There’s a sense of community service and a philanthropic outreach here that attracted me to pursue med school here. It’s the opportunity to help people below the poverty line and give back to the community.”
Serebrakian said that his number one role model is his dad, who is also a surgeon. A close number two, however, is Andre Agassi, a retired American professional tennis player and former World No. 1 who was one of the game’s most dominant players from the early 1990s to the mid-2000s. Agassi has devoted much of his time these days to charity.
After becoming a surgeon himself, Serebrakian still plans to continue his passion for skiing. As a member of the Armenia Ski Federation, Serebrakian will personally coach and train adolescents of the Armenian community and introduce them to the world of recreational skiing thus increasing the popularity of winter sports in Armenia.
Serebrakian also has his own personal website, armanserebrakian.com, that displays photos and blog posts of his road to Sochi. A donation section of the site is programmed for people to contribute an amount of their choosing to help fund Serebrakian’s ski expenses. The Armenia Ski Federation has expressed their support, but is not able to do so financially. Serebrakian is looking for another means of paying for the essentials due to the increased demand of equipment.
“Ski racing is expensive,” Serebrakian said. “My gear and equipment totals to about more than $10,000. The funding will cover my travel costs as well.” Serebrakian said that he currently has a total funding of $16,625, and hopes to acquire a total of $90,000 to cover expenses.