Larchmont “Ironman” Dentist Wins Armenian Athlete Award

Dr. Michael Kezian, whose office building at 443 N. Larchmont Blvd. is recognizable for its Little Free Library and doggie comfort station, is also known as the “Ironman Dentist” by some of his closest friends and patients…a nickname that was recently confirmed when he was presented with the Armenian Athlete Award for “Outstanding Athletic Achievement” by the Knights of Vartan, a national fraternal and service organization Kezian has belonged to since 2014.

Kezian has long been an avid cyclist, runner and triathlon participant, which he says has enriched both his life and dental practice. And that love for endurance also eventually led him to compete in Ironman events – more ambitious triathlons that include a 2.4 mile open-water swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a full marathon run (26.2 miles). Kezian told the Buzz that the Ironman competitions have pushed him to complete rigorous training, based on “the drive and motivation to set goals and fulfill the dreams of being the best you can be,” a philosophy that is reflected in both his dental practice and personal life.

Dr. Michael Kezian (r), with his grandfather, Deran Tashjian (l), and their awards from the Knights of Vartan

Kezian’s award was presented at the Knights of Vartan’s 54th annual Tri-Lodge Banquet on April 28, and represented a sort of legacy for Kezian — his grandfather, Deran Tashjian, won the same accolade. (Tashjian was born in Massachusetts, but his family moved to Soviet Armenia in 1949, shortly before he graduatedfrom high school. It was a difficult transition, said Kezian, but Tashjian’s athletic prowess smoothed the way…until his career was derailed by an injury shortly before the 1952 Summer Olypics. Later, however, Tashjian worked as a track and field coach for more than 20 years, before moving back to the U.S. with his family in 1975. And he, too, is now active in the Knights and Daughters of Vartan.)

When he’s not training for grueling triathlons, you can find Kezian working at his practice as a cosmetic dentist. His goal, he told the Buzz, is to be known as the “community’s emergency dentist,” who can be called on whenever people have a dental emergency.

Kezian also says he isn’t done competing, and probably won’t be for a long time. His most recent Ironman competition was on May 11. He spent a year preparing for the event, and maintains both a muscle-to-fat ratio of less than 8%, and a “very unique,” strict diet…though he considers the mental component of competition to be the most challenging. “It is important to see past the failure,” he said, “and see your dream at the end of the tunnel.”

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About Elizabeth Fuller

Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - first in the Sycamore Square neighborhood, and since 2012 in West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill. She was long-time board member of the Sycamore Square Neighborhood Association, currently serves on the board of the West Adams Heights/Sugar Hill Neighborhood Association, spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.

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