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Top ten pastimes at L.A.'s Navasartian Games, the 'Armenian Olympics'

Photo by Helena Gregorian/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Help, too much soujoukh! The Navasartian Games mascot, July 2011

While others were attending cookouts and pool parties over the Fourth of July weekend, Multi-American guest blogger Lory Tatoulian was taking in the sports-related drama at the 2011 Navasartian Games, what she describes as the "mini Armenian Olympics."

Legend has it that the games got their start as chariot races and javelin throwing contests some 4,000 years ago on the Armenian plateau. Today they're held in L.A., taking place each year over the holiday weekend on the Birmingham High School campus in Van Nuys, where more than 8,000 athletes of various ages compete in basketball, volleyball, soccer and swimming during the three-day sports fest. The less athletically inclined compete in events like ping-pong and chess.

There is also a substantial amount of food, music, and tens of thousands of Armenian American attendees celebrating what Lory terms "their cultural personhood."