New gymnastics coach brings national experience

When Mirel Bica said he wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, he meant it.
The new coach of the Fort Frances Visserettes Club and his family are enjoying the quieter life in town as they prepare for their first season here.
“In the last 12 years, I was involved in only the high level of gymnastics,” said Bica, 33, a former coach with the national teams of the Philippines, Tunisia, and Romania (his home country)—going to more than 30 countries with them.
“It was very tiring. We need the extra time because of our little baby. We need the family time.
“We need a quiet place. We needed Fort Frances,” he added.
Bica and his family (wife, Mirela, and their 10-month-old daughter, Julianne Nicole) have been in town for just over a month but already are feeling at home.
“It’s been great. Everyone says ‘hello’ to you on the street. Just so friendly,” said Mirela.
“We took a boat ride on Rainy Lake. Beautiful,” he added. “It’s my first time in Canada and I really like it.”
But why he chose a club in a small town was simple: to build.
“It’s nice to try to build something new. It’s much more challenging to build something new than just to work in the very high level,” he remarked.
In his last job in Focsani (Romania), Bica produced five national team members and helped train two Olympians in the mid-1990s. And while he hasn’t had the chance to work with the local club’s provincial competitors yet, he said there’s no reason why such success can’t be duplicated here.
“I hope I can be of any help using my experience,” he noted. “I can bring here another mentality, another conception, of what sports and gymnastics means.
“What I mean is everybody is watching the sport at a recreational level. I want to make it known that it’s not a right, it’s a privilege,” he continued.
“I don’t know what their level or abilities are right now, but I’m excited about what’s ahead.”
So far, Bica has sent letters to the families of gymnasts who have quit the club in recent years in hopes of luring them back.
He also plans to promote the club more aggressively in town—with sights on eventually expanding its building on McKenzie Avenue North (next to the Beer Store).
Registration for the club’s fall semester will be held Aug. 26-29 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and again Sept. 5 from 6-8 p.m.
The fall semester begins Sept. 9.