SATELLITE BEACH, FL – The Stergiopoulos brothers, Georgios, age 12, and Argyrios, age 8, spent their summer vacation training and competing in the Olympic sports of discus and shot put in the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Junior Olympic Games held August 5-9 in Satellite Beach. Their proud grandfather Argyris Argitakos, who attended the competition in Florida, shared the story with The National Herald.
The sons of Drs. Sotirios and Matina Stergiopoulos, of Great Neck, NY, have always been very active young boys. Both play basketball in their respective age groups at their school parish teams, Archangel Michael Greek Orthodox Church of Port Washington, NY. However, all their activities ceased for them and everyone else when, in mid- March, New York State mandated a quarantine and lock-down of all schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brothers Argyrios and Georgios Stergiopoulos with their parents Drs. Sotirios and Matina Stergiopoulos at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Florida. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
Seeking ways to keep his boys active, their father started talking to them about the Olympian sports of discus and shot put. Their father, in his high school and undergraduate years, was an avid athlete and in fact played on the Track & Field team at the State University of New York-Stony Brook. The boys were immediately captivated and thus commenced their journey of daily rigorous workouts. As these activities are not team sports there was no restriction and they were able to train at the local park.
Argyrios Stergiopoulos after winning 2nd place in the Shot Put Competition at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Florida. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
Day in and day out, they practiced enthusiastically and trained with their father as their personal coach, pushing them to their limits. Later they would also have the virtual coaching of Nicholas Scarvelis, an Olympian from the Greek National Team at Rio 2016 and current Greek National Record holder in shot put. Inquisitive as the young boys are, they wanted to know more about these sports. Of course, discus was one of the original Hellenic sports from thousands of years ago which was later adopted, along with shot put, for the modern day Olympics. The boys were inspired to someday compete in the Olympics and though both are American-born, they immediately set their goal to represent Hellas in their Olympic quest.
Georgios Stergiopoulos winning 3rd place in Discus at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Florida. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
As the pandemic restrictions eased and after a four-month routine of daily training and practice, their supportive parents decided they would give them a taste of real competition by enrolling them in the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) West Coast Junior Olympics held in Las Vegas, NV on July 9. Wearing their Hellenic blue and white colors, the boys went full tilt competing in their respective age groups. Georgios came in 2nd place in Discus and 3rd place in Shot Put, while Argyrios was able to win 1st place in Shot Put.
Argyrios Stergiopoulos, Argyris Argitakos, Dr. Sotirios Stergiopoulos, and Georgios Stergiopoulos at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Florida. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
Having qualified during this competition, the boys were now ready for national competitions. Their parents registered them in the 2020 AAU Junior Olympics Games held August 5-9 at Satellite Beach. With athletes participating from throughout the United States, this was a much more challenging competition. Both boys successfully attained All-American status with nation-wide rankings; Georgios came in 3rd place in Discus and 5th place in Shot Put, while Argyrios achieved 2nd place in the Shot Put. While in the winner’s circle Argyrios, during an interview by a national sports channel, was asked about his ultimate goal, boldly and with pride, his answer was, “to become an Olympian representing Greece!”
The medals won by the Stergiopoulos brothers at the AAU Junior Olympic Games in Florida. (Photo: Courtesy of the family)
The video of Argyrios’ interview is available online: https://www.milesplit.com/videos/447606.