5:30 a.m., Oct. 17)
Tumblers coach leads by example
Tumblers coach Vanda Hadarean recently finished fourth at the Ms. World Fitness
competition in Las Vegas. Fred Sherwin/Photo
Tumblers coach Vanda Hadarean likes to lead by example.
August she won the Ms. Fitness Canada competition in Toronto and then followed
that up with a fourth place finish at the Ms. Fitness World event in Las Vegas
last month. Not bad considering this is her first year in competitive fitness.
again, Hadarean has an impressive résumé. As a member of Romania's
national gymnastics team from 1988 to 1994 she won the individual all around gold
medal at the 1991 European Junior Championships and played a key role in her team
picking up a silver medal at the 1991 World Championships in Indianapolis.
next year she won a bronze medal in the all around competition at the European
Senior Championships and was a member of the national team that captured bronze
at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
retiring from competitive gymnastics in 1994, she earned her coaching license
and moved to Canada where she landed a job coaching in Hamilton. During the next
three years she had coaching stints in Peterborough, Houston and South Carolina
before returning to Romania in 1998.
In 2000 she returned to Canada to teach at the Gloucester Tumblers Gymnastics
Club in Orléans where she has remained ever since.
was in 2000 that she first heard about fitness competitions. She wasn't all that
impressed with the genre at the time.
was not very eager about it at first. I was still into having my own time and
just working out three or four times a week," recalls Hadarean.
wasn't until last winter that Hadarean's competitive juices started flowing again
and fitness competitions seemed like a natural outlet for her talents.
Hadarean as she appeared during the recent Ms. World Fitness competition and as
she looked as a teenager competing for the Romanian national team (inset). File
working our three or four days a week, Hadarean began hitting the gym every day.
She also started surfing the Internet to size up her potential competition and
to get an idea of what body types were more successful than others.
May, she went to the Ms. Fitness North Eastern Canada competition at Carleton
University as a spectator and decided then and there that she would enter the
Ms. Fitness Canada competition in August.
the early part of the summer, Hadarean fine tuned both her body and her routine.
She went to the competition a relative unknown and emerged as Ms. Fitness Canada
credits her success to the years she spent in the Romanian gymnastics program.
was very tough sometimes, but it also made me who I am today both as a competitor
and a person," says Hadarean "Everything I learned in gymnastics helps
me today, from the strict training program to the choreography and even my diet."
of the most important techniques Hadarean uses from her days competing against
the best gymnasts in the world is visualization. Before she steps on stage, Hadarean
visualizes her entire routine, including the reaction of the judges and the crowd.
visualize everything. I see myself competing. I see the judges looking at me and
the audience and I even visualize coming off the stage," says Hadarean who
had less than two weeks to prepare for the Ms. Fitness World event.
she left for the city of lights, her goal was to finish in the top five. By the
time her plane landed in Vegas, her goal was to finish in the top three.
she arrived at her hotel and saw some of her fellow competitors for the first
time, her goal changed once again.
my wish was to finish in the top five, then on the plane I thought, 'Why top five,
why not finish in the top three?'," says Hadarean. "Then when I saw
the other girls I said I'm going for first place."
five-foot-three, Hadarean was one of the smallest women in the competition which
among others included Ms. Fitness USA, Sarah Harding Traverso, and Anastasiya
Kozlovskaya of the Ukraine, who finished in fourth place last year.
the dust had settled and the final marks were posted, Hadarean finished in fourth
place behind both Traverso and Kozlovskaya, who was declared the winner.
is already thinking about changing her look and her routine for next year. You
could say Hadarean has caught the competitive fitness bug.
really love it. I love being on stage and competing in front of an audience. At
the same time as a coach I think it sets a good example for the gymnasts,"
a success in the competitive fitness industry also comes with its fringe benefits.
The top competitors are in high demand as fitness models for everything from fitness
products to magazine covers. In fact, Hadarean was supposed to jet off to San
Diego for a photo shoot the day after our interview.
loves the limelight and the limelight seems to love Hadarean. How long she basks
in the glow will depend on how long she's willing to put in the work. Although
Kozlovskaya is only 19, Traverso is 28 and Tina Thompson-Pope, who finished third
in Las Vegas, is 31.
is in the prime of her career and things can only get better from here.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local
www.orleansonline.ca's main page