For some people it´s easy to find a right kind of sport. When Paula Tiitta was young she used to climb wherever she could and do cartwheels in their small livingroom. So, mom took her to the gymnasium club and she never looked back.
Now, ten years later, she already has a few medals from the Finnish championships and she´s competed in exotic countries. And this summer she found her ideal practice place at the Mississauga Sports Center.
– Choosing to Canada was the greatest thing so far in my sports career. This is an ideal place to practice full time and still go to school the same time, she says happily.
Paula comes from Järvenpää, quite a small town close by Helsinki. She found the Silverthorn High School and Mississauga training center through private contacts.
– Modas family totally understands my penchant for gymnastics, since their both children Jasmine and Darian also practice this. We always get the lift back and forth together so it´s very convenient.
boost her career
Paula practices five days a week from 1 till 6 in the afternoon. In between there´s only a ten minute break. She admits she´s still behind the Canada level, but considers it only a challenge.
– Here we have four coaches, while in Finland had only one taking care of three groups simultaneously. I have already learned some new patterns and movements here.
Young sportswoman believes her strenths are floor and jumps due to her strong leg muscles. However, in one test she made seventeen pull-ups in 30 seconds. She regrets she´s too tall (165) which is a little hindrance with the bars.
Also familiar with
One of Paula´s coaches, Craig Smith, extolls her dedication and high motivation.
– She´s always the first one doing warm-ups and you can sense her passion for the sports. She has developed into a better already and has become a role model to the younger girls.
Smith has also noticed the difference between the North American and European gymnasts. Here they concentrate on technicality while overseas more also on elegance.
Paula says that even as an athlete she doesn´t require a special diet. However she has realized how much healthier average Finns eat with less junk and more veggies and potatoes.
In ten year´s career she has remained healthy. Of course things like calluses on her hands and little strains sometimes are part of everyday life.
– I´m always eager to go to the gym, but sometimes it´s hard afterwards when you have lots of homework and other tasks to do. Especially English exercises are still a little difficult for me.
Because Canada is a huge hockey country, Paula also confesses having tried girls´hockey one winter in Finland.
– I never felt it was for me, because I like to do things on my own rather than in a team. Now it´s only up to me how well I will succeed, says one of our Olympic hopefuls for the 2016 games.