The Fighter: Gymnast Kristina Vaculik
Photo: Rob Ericson/Stanfordphoto.com
By Sam Scott
One of three Cardinal athletes representing Canada, Kristina Vaculik, ’14, missed qualifying for an Olympic spot four years ago, when a serious elbow injury put her out of commission. She bounced back in 2010 to win her second all-around Canadian national championship (her first was in 2007), a title she claimed for a third time in 2012. Vaculik competed for Stanford in 2011, but took the 2012 college season off to train for London with her coach, Elena Davydova, who won gold for the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics. Women’s gymnastics competition begins July 29.
You took a year off from Stanford to concentrate on your Olympic training. What have you missed most about college life? What's been the biggest advantage of the move?
What I’ve missed most during my year off school are my teammates on the Stanford Women’s Gymnastics team. I look forward to seeing them in September. This year has given me the opportunity to focus all of my energy into my gymnastics, whereas before I had always made my education my first priority. Training under the eye of my club coach, Elena Davydova, and with the other Canadian national team members has also been beneficial toward my preparation for London.
You were 4 years old when you started gymnastics. When did you realize it was your passion?
Ever since I was 4, I loved going to gymnastics class. I found the sport enticing and always viewed it as my passion. I loved the endless challenges it presented and the feeling of satisfaction after conquering a new skill or a perfect routine. As I got older I grew more serious with the sport and began setting my sights on the Olympics.
Gymnastics seems to require a tremendous mix of focus and Zen-like calm. How do you prepare your mind on the day of competition?
I don’t have any set rituals for the day of competition, other than listening to upbeat music as I get ready. I try not to stress about the competition itself and instead focus on dealing with one thing at a time and being in the moment.
What’s in heavy play in your iPod?
[Right] now, my favorite inspirational song that I listen to in training is “The Fighter” by the Gym Class Heroes featuring Ryan Tedder.
Ignoring your own schedule for a moment, what Olympic event would you most like to watch?
I would love to watch any of the track and field events. Especially the 100-meter final, where I hope to see [Jamaican sprinter] Usain Bolt set another record. I would also love to watch some of the diving and a few soccer games because I am a fan of both sports.
- Be the first one to add a comment. You must log in to comment.
- 2012 STANFORD OLYMPIC ROSTER
- All Business: Rower David Banks
- Goal, Gold: Soccer's Rachel Buehler
- Doubling Down: Tennis Players Mike and Bob Bryan
- Get Faster: Rower Jake Cornelius
- 'Beyond Unthinkable': Kenyan swimmer Jason Dunford
- Grappling for Gold: Wrestler Matt Gentry
- Redemption in 26.2 Miles: Marathoner Ryan Hall
- Twister: Diver Kristian Ipsen
- America's Hope: Synchronized swimmer Mariya Koroleva
- Hurdles Cleared: Hurdler Amaechi Morton
- The Comeback Canadian: Swimmer Tobias Oriwol
- Defending the Kiwis: Soccer's Ali Riley
- From the Pool to Ethiopia: Austrian Swimmer Markus Rogan
- Power Player: Water Polo's Jessica Steffens
- Flying to London: Pole Vaulter Katerina Stefanidi
- Always in the Pool: Water Polo's Peter Varellas
- 'So Far From Done': Beach Volleyball's Kerri Walsh
- "It's Go Time": Diver Cassidy Krug
The Effort Effect
Let Me Introduce Myself
Seeing at the Speed of Sound
Dunder Mifflin Going Out of Business
Data is from the past two weeks.