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The Stergiopoulos brothers: a positive Coronavirus quarantine story….
The Stergiopoulos brothers, Georgios (age 12) and Argyrios (age 8), who reside with their parents, Drs. Sotirios and Matina Stergiopoulos, in Great Neck, Long Island New York 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.
Seeking ways to keep his boys active, their father started talking to them about the Olympian sports of Discus Throwing 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 State University of NY-Stony Brook. The boys were immediately captivated and thus commenced their journey of daily rigorous workouts. As these activities were not team sports there wasn’t any restriction and they were able to train at the local park. Day in and day out enthusiastically they practiced 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 Shot Put Greek National Record holder. Inquisitive as the young boys are, they wanted to know more about these sports. Of course, Discuss Throwing was one of the original Hellenic sports from thousands of years before which was later adopted, along with Shot Put, into the modern day Olympics. Suddenly, a goal was instilled in these boys; someday they would compete in the Olympics! Even though both are American born, they immediately set their goal to represent Hellas in their Olympic quest!
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 to be held in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 9th. 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 Throwing and 3rd place in Shot Put while Argyrios was able to win 1st place in Shot Put!
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 5th – 9th at Satellite Beach, Florida with athletes participating from throughout the US! 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 Throwing 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!”