Born to Run
“With all my respect to all those hardworking athletes, I don’t have any idol. My whole journey what I’ve been through gives me the choice and the chance to choose myself as a role model.” These are the words of a strong woman and sprinter of Armenian descent, Gretta Taslakian, who sacrificed a lot since her childhood to become the first Lebanese woman to participate in three Olympic Games. She is a Lebanese national record holder in the outdoor 200, 400 meters, and previously indoor 60 and 200 meters. Impressed? Well, sit tight.
In 2007, she broke the Pan Arab Record in the 200 meters and won Gold at the Arab Games in the 100, 200 meters. In the same year, she got Silver medal at the Asian Championships followed by Gold at the Arab Championships in the 400 meters and Bronze at the Asian Championships in 2013. The list continues.
Unlike many athletes, she didn’t choose this career but rather the career chose her. Directed and supported by her strict yet loving father, Gretta Taslakian pursued her long journey from the age of 12. She started to participate in running championships organized for schools in Lebanon and with the first victories, her passion for running as a professional sport began to grow.
Since childhood, she got used to being careful about her activities and choices which could affect her sports career. Gradually, sport became a part of her and shaped her character and mindset. Gretta Taslakian never thought about being without running. As she describes it – “It’s like children get milk when they are born, it’s the same thing for me, sport is a part of me”.
Among all those championships, her first experience in the Olympic games is the most special one for her. Just imagine, you’re standing in the Arena surrounded by so many people, all cheering and supporting athletes from all around the world, indeed a fantastic experience that Gretta remembers very vividly till today. Her reputation exceeded herself with participation in the Olympics 3 times in a row.
Armenian Descent in Non-Armenian Environment
Armenian roots? What does that mean if you are not raised in the Armenian Environment? Does having Armenian blood make you Armenian? Yes and no. Gretta Taslakian admits, she is not really able to define the word “Armenian”. Her mother having Syrian origin, her father Armenian, she was born in Lebanon as an Armenian, but away from Armenian culture. She considers herself to have a mixture of European-oriental origin.
However, Gretta Taslakian’s busy schedule with sports didn’t give her the opportunity to mingle much in the Armenian Community.
Being an Armenian businessman himself, Gretta’s husband supported the Armenian community until some bad encounter with some non-Armenian colleagues made them leave Lebanon and go to Brazil. Unfortunately, he didn’t get much support from the Armenian Community in return. Sadly, Gretta Taslakian didn’t get the chance to be inside the Armenian community and explore more Armenians in Lebanon. People are people, after all, we all are the same.
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Nevertheless, Gretta just cannot resist Armenian cuisine, which can be found in almost every corner in Lebanon. After all, there are many similarities between these two cultures-Lebanese and Armenian, which is not surprising. Her kitchen usually smells Lebanese food having nourishing features, as Gretta says.
She noticed the one special thing about Armenian culture is about the bond with the other Armenians. They have a huge potential, work hard, and never give up. She believes Armenians are never weak to give up which comes from within.
I couldn’t help my enthusiasm for whether Gretta planned to visit Armenia and guess what, she has an Armenian passport and is interested in exploring the country and Armenian culture, also baptize her kids there. She even confessed how she tried to learn Armenian, which was interrupted by her busy schedule.
The Secret of Success in Career and Personal Life
After all her records, the famous Lebanese sprinter Taslakian (born 16 August 1985 in Ghadir, Lebanon) still plans to continue breaking the chains by switching to 800 meters, which will be the closure of her career. Concerning her record in personal life, Taslakian undoubtedly highlights- being a mom of three kids and more three of her husband (and not going crazy).
Being successful is all about failing which is a part of your journey, without which one cannot rise. Family support and dedication are also a huge part of it. It’s also connected to never giving up. The biggest lesson one learns from sports is patience, which extremely helps in life. Perhaps, that’s how she worked on solving 5000 pieces of the puzzle during our interview, sounds pretty patient to me.
Now Gretta Taslakian shares her experience and advice on sports on her Social Media pages. Check out how she is helping many women lose weight, get back in shape after pregnancy, keep fit, look good, and stay healthy at the same time.
By the way for those who wonder what she eats to stay fit, don’t break your head, she simply does NOT follow any diet, only good food, and sports. So go ahead, finish your food.