|Preparing for Opening Day of her own gym in British Columbia, 1988 Romanian Olympian Celestina Popa told IG she is hopeful that "Celestina Popa Gymnastics" will benefit area youth and eventually yield competitive talent.
Preparing for Opening Day of her own gym in British Columbia, 1988 Romanian Olympian Celestina Popa told IG she is hopeful that "Celestina Popa Gymnastics" will benefit area youth and eventually yield competitive talent.
"I'd like to make a good impact on my community, in regard to the need for young people to start being more active," Popa said. "I am going to have a recreational program in the first year, with the intention to prepare gymnasts for competitive teams in the future.”
Celestina Popa Gymnastics, which held an open house June 20-21, will celebrate its formal opening June 29. Located in Maple Ridge, 40 kilometers from Vancouver, the facility has 4,800 square feet for gymnastics and 800 square feet for other activities.
"I have possibilities to expand the facility after my first year, but I'd like to see the gym working properly before getting bigger," Popa said.
Popa won a team gold medal at the 1987 World Championships and team silver medals at the 1988 Olympic Games and 1985 Worlds. She said she wanted to open a gym closer to her Maple Ridge home than Flicka Gymnastics Club in North Vancouver, where she had been coaching since 1994.
"The need for a gym in the community that I live in was big," Popa said.
Popa is married to fellow former Romanian gymnast Flaviu Toma, longtime head coach and technical director at Flicka. Popa said Toma will teach morning classes for ages 3-4 and 4-5 at her club, and he will also coach High Performance gymnasts at Flip City Gymnastics Centre in Langley.
Celestina Popa at the 1987 Worlds in Rotterdam
As a gymnast, Popa earned recognition for her eponymous full-twisting straddle jump, as well as her flexibility and unique style. Among her top individual accomplishments, she tied for first place all-around at the 1985 Chunichi Cup in Japan, and placed 10th all-around in preliminaries at the 1988 Olympics.
Popa said she wants to present the best aspects of her Romanian gymnastics background to her Canadian pupils.
"I would like to bring to the community the knowledge that I accumulated during my career," Popa told IG. "I want to make all of the gymnasts aware that you can achieve your dreams with hard work and respect for the people that are trying to help you — your coaches and parents."
External Link: Celestina Popa Gymnastics
International Gymnast Magazine Related Features
"Popa is Still Jumping" - Popa feature (March 2001)
"Silence is Golden" - Romanian team feature, includes Popa
Popa on cover collage, 1985 Chunichi Cup report (March 1986)
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