Brazilian coach new to Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy

Adriana Harumi Ota may be thousands of miles from home, but that doesn’t mean the Brazilian gymnastics coach has changed her lifestyle very much.
Ota, who performed, competed and coached gymnastics for 16 years in Rio de Janeiro, came up to Canada to do pretty much the same thing.
“It’s a wonderful sport,” she said, explaining why she loves gymnastics. “You are able to fly, turn in the air and land again. The feeling is amazing. When you do this, it’s incredible.
“I don’t know if I’m going to stay in Canada,” she added, “but I am going to stay in gymnastics.”
Ota arrived in Fort Frances on July 21st, travelled around southwestern Ontario for two weeks, then started coaching at the Fort Frances Gymnastics Academy.
The 22-year-old has been doing gymnastics since she was five. While it was originally only a recreational sport, within two years she was taking it much more seriously.
“All my life I’ve done gymnastics. All my friends did gymnastics too,” Ota reminisced. “When I was a child, a teenager–I was always inside the gym.
“I know gymnastics. My life is gymnastics.”
And it shows: Ota was a Brazilian champion in the vault event, and was on the Brazilian team in the PanAmerican Games and the Canadian Cup.
Actually, the gymnast travelled all over Canada and the United States to compete.
But Ota did give it up five years ago, when she was 17. She went to the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro where she studied physical education, and received her certification to teach.
Ota says she enjoys teaching, but loves coaching gymnastics.
“You train with the girls, watch them doing this,” she reflected during a coaching session, “and two months later they are better. You can see the muscles develop.”
When she thought about her own style of teaching, she described herself as “very strict.”
Her students, on the other hand, don’t get the same impression.
“She’s good–she’s not as strict as my babysitter,” explained Andrea Nelson, 8.
“She’s very artistic,” said 15-year-old Vicky Stinson. “She likes teaching us to dance.”
Mike Lang, head coach at the academy, agreed that Ota brings a lot to the school.
“We’re trying to raise the level of gymnastics here, and she has the ability to do that,” he mentioned, adding that Ota is now one of a strong group of instructors.
“We want her to stay. She’s a welcome addition. The girls like her.”
Ota found the job on the Internet. Back in April, coaching co-ordinator Betty Grynol posted the job, and by May Ota had it.
Ota will stay for her two-year contract, but after that, she’s not sure. She’s eager to continue learning English, but she misses Brazil. She’s left her parents, Atrushi and Maria do Patrocinio, and her sisters Ana Sayuri and Yoko Patricia. She’s hoping her boyfriend will be able to join her in Fort Frances, where he could coach judo.
“I always wanted to travel,” said Ota, explaining why she went for the job from her Brazilian home. “Then I saw the possibility to work here. It will be a great experience for me.”

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