BY CLAIRE CUDAHY
It was a triumphant weekend for 16-year-old Hannah Gula at the Nadia Comaneci International Invitational where the Red Lake gymnast earned gold on all four of her events, an all-around gold medal, and the Nadia Comaneci Spirit Award.
“It’s pretty exciting. I wasn’t expecting to do very well because the States have really good gymnastics programs, so I went into it thinking I’ll have fun and try to hit my routine,” Gula told The Northern Sun News.
The awards ceremony was a career high for the competitive gymnast.
“It’s Nadia Comaneci’s meet, so she has a special award given out for each session that goes on. The spirit award goes to someone that they thought stood out,” explained Gula. “And they gave it to me because they liked my choreography, floor routine, and presentation.”
Two years ago Gula moved to Oakville, ON from Red Lake so she could train at the Oakville Gymnastics Club.
“My coach quit in Red Lake, and by the time that happened, I was too far invested in it,” said Gula, who lives with a billet family and attends school in Oakville. “Lots of my favourite Canadian athletes train there. It’s a good facility and a very healthy environment, and I just wanted to be a part of it.”
Gula trains five hours every day during the week, and competes five or six times a year. But for the young athlete, it hardly feels like work.
“It goes by fast every week, and I have the weekends off, so I find myself every Sunday night getting excited for the next week,” said Gula.
Gula is in her ninth year of gymnastics, and hopes to continue her career on a collegiate gymnastics team in the U.S.
So what advice would she give to any budding Red Lake gymnasts?
“Make sure you love what you do, and trust your parents and your coaches.”