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The South Caucasus at the 2012 Olympics

This post is part of our special coverage of the London 2012 Olympics.  

Arsen Julfalakyan of Armenia, Roman Vlasov of Russia, Aleksandr Kazakevic of Lithuania and Emin Ahmadov of Azerbaijan after the Men's Greco-Roman 74 kg Wrestling match/ via London 2012

The three South Caucasus countries have been participating  independently in the Olympics since 1996, and they each followed up their records in Beijing this summer in London to walk away with gold, silver and bronze in the physically strenuous activities the region generally excels in, much to the enjoyment of fans and fellow country men and women.

Armenia walked away with one silver and bronze in Men's Greco-Roman wrestling and a surprise bronze medal in women's weightlifting by Hripsime Khurshudyan, which caused a flurry of social media activity. The win even elicited a comment, albeit in transliterated Armenian, from  a member of America's most famous Armenian family, the Kardashians.

@RobKardashian: Yes shat hupart yev uraxem mer bolor Hye marsiknerits vor masnaktsumen 2012 tvi Olympiadayum. #Armenia

 ”I am very proud and happy with all of our Armenian athletes who are participating in the 2012 Olympics.”

@RobKardashian: Armenian Woman KHURSHUDYAN just medaled in Women's Weightlifting (Clean & Jerk)! #ArmenianPride#LondonOlympics2012

Azerbaijan on the other hand took 10 medals home, including two gold in men's freestyle wrestling by Toghrul Asgarov and Sharif Sharifov. This year's Eurovision host country also earned two silver (both in wrestling) and six bronze (wrestling, weightlifting and boxing).

@Farida_Aliyeva: London brought us luck! Azerbaijan got its greatest number of medals – 10 with 2 gold, 2 silver and 6 bronze. #Azerbaijan #AZE#Olympics

@RogerMamedov:  #Azerbaijan wrestling team did really in the Olympics. Maybe now people will know where I'm from.

Georgia won seven medals, with three silver and three bronze (all of them in wrestling) and one gold in Judo, thanks to Lasha Shavdatuashvili

@MirianJugheli: 20-year old Judoist Lasha Shavdatuashvili becomes an olympic champion! #georgia #caucasus #tbilisi #judo #london2012

The Caucasus Tumblr, in a photo montage and round up of the Olympics made an astute observation based on Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia's superior abilities in strength sports:

Never ever, under no circumstances pick up a street fight in the Caucasus.

Athletes with South and North Caucasian descent also participated in London 2012 for Russia as the tumblr notes. Three of Russia's gold medals in judo were won by Tagir Khaybulaev, Mansur Mustafaevich Isaev , both ethnic Avars and Arsen Galstyan, an ethnic Armenian.
The wins prompted an “outpouring of hate from Russian nationalists,” wrote Global Voices author Andrey Tselikov in a post titled, “Russia: The Ugly Side of Olympic Nationalism.”

This post is part of our special coverage of the London 2012 Olympics.  

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