Christina Grigore, Octavian D.CURPAS from Missouri, has conquered many other gymnasts from the United States and even Canada. The competition took place at the University of Phoenix Stadium, in Glendale, Arizona.
The University of Phoenix Stadium from Glendale, Arizona, and the Sunrays Arizona team competed on February 13-15, 2009. This was the Hard Rock Invitational event, which over 1500 gymnasts participated in, including Canada. A mother from Arizona said. “It’s a privilege to compete in this meet. These gymnasts have worked so hard to participate in this meet. A chance to compete in this meet is rare”. A coach from the Arizona Sunrays, Dan Witenstein, said “During the gymnasts’ warm up, there would be live music playing and the medals awarded would resemble small electric guitars.”
With all the gymnasts that competed on February 13-15th, 2009, Christina Grigore, a gymnast from St. Louis, Missouri, from All American Gymnastics, participated in this meet. She competed on the Red Side as a level 8, competing with all the other 56 gymnasts on that side. Her team won 2nd place and also won $125.
Twenty-four years ago, Ionel Grigore emigrated from Romania to the USA. Christina’s parents participated in Romanian sports. Ionel participated in fencing, parachuting and scuba diving in caves, and her mother was very athletic. Her father left Romania in 1985, for expeditions in scuba diving in Vietnam. He traveled to Vietnam and then went to Italy, and after that he came to USA. Christina’s mother and sister came to the US in 1988.
Sanda Grigore graduated from Bucharest, Romania in Nursing. After moving to the US a year later, she enrolled in another nursing program. In 2005, she enrolled in a school to be a Pharmacy Technician. At present, she is working in Nursing Home as an Activity Therapist in Chesterfield, Missouri.
In 1990, Christina was born in St-Louis, Missouri. Christina continued the her family legacy in sports. The Grigore family moved to Portland, Oregon in 1997, and they bought a business that was an “Adult Foster Care Home”. Christina was enrolled in private school in Portland. She experimented with different sports like jazz, gymnastics, figure skating and even the piano. She went on to play the piano for eight years. When she was eight years old, she was enrolled at Clackamas Town Center for figure skating. She was going to school, taking piano lessons, and skating about 12-15 hours a week. Skating was her passion. She would skate for 5-6 hours every Saturday and Sunday! She took private lessons with a Russian coach named Olga. On top of that, she also took a Power and Endurance class every Saturday at 8 o’clock a.m. Following that would come two more different types of classes (one of them being a Jumps and Spins class) and would free skate until around 2 or 3. Before she moved back to Missouri she conquered and took first place in her first figure skating competition!
On the other hand, her sister Anneliese is a preschool teacher in Missouri. She has a six year old daughter named Jordan Ashley. She is in first grade. Jordan has also been in gymnastics for four years and is also involved with dance. When they moved back in 2004, Christina started performing gymnastics. Her mother adores Nadia Comaneci very much and got Christina interested in gymnastics. During her childhood, Christina worked very hard in sports, playing the piano and in school. She never had time to socialize with other kids because she was always busy with her rigorous training. Currently, she has been training 20 hours a week, five days a week, including Saturday and Sunday. Christina tells me with enthusiasm, “Gymnastics is my life!” The word “vacation” isn’t known in the gym. While only getting one day off for Christmas and New Years, and a week off after State competition, one could say that gymnastics must be her life, since she is so dedicated. She doesn’t have much time to be a kid. Her forty-five minute drive to the gym is just the beginning of a long day. She is now a training level 9. One could say that Christina hasn’t been doing gymnastics for long. She started competitive gymnastics when she was 15 years old! She is currently a senior in high school. Her coaches have said, “She is a very hard worker. She doesn’t fool around. She’s like the mother of the gym. She gets her teammates motivated and mothers of the younger gymnasts”. When Christina finally gets home, around 9:15 p.m., she eats dinner and then starts her homework. Every year contains about ten to twelve competitions. So far, since she has been competing, she has won 96 medals and 14 trophies. She usually places very well!
In the first week of February, she participated with 4000 other gymnasts from all over the world. This IGI competition was held at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. This is currently the world’s biggest gymnastics competition. The meet is also under consideration for the Guinness Book of World Records, as the largest meet! It is an annual competition at the Chicago Navy Pier.
Christina has said, “If you really want to achieve your goals, all you have to do is set your mind to it! With dedication, hard work, and perseverance, anything is possible!” Her five coaches love her! They have all noticed that the other girls look up to her and are very happy. They say this because she is a very good role model! Unlike other teenagers of her age, she does not like to drive. The thirty-six mile trip to the gym and back is not much fun for her. When trying to think positive about driving herself to the gym she says, “It gives me time to think about how practice went and if I accomplished the goals I had set for that days’ work out and also what I could work on to be a better gymnast.” Over the years, she has accumulated three notebooks of journal writing. After each practice, she writes down how the practice went, any new skills she learned, and over all just how the day went. She says that this helps her and it also shows her how far she has gotten in the 3’ short years she has been doing gymnastics.
In the short amount of time that she’s not at school or gymnastics, she is a member at Lifetime Fitness (a work-out gym like YMCA, 24 Hour Fitness, etc.). When she doesn’t have practice or on the weekends, after practice, she goes to Lifetime and works out. She rarely goes skating anymore, even though she dearly loves it, “There just isn’t enough time”, Christina had told me.
Looking back, Christina says that if there was one thing she could change about her gymnastics, is that she would have started earlier.
In school, Christina’s favorite subjects are math and science. She is a senior at Lafayette High School in Missouri. She applied to four colleges and all four accepted her. She decided to go to a private university close to her house. She will still do gymnastics at the gym she is currently at. She would like to open her own gym someday. When something isn’t going right, Christina works harder to try to get to her dreams. She asks her coaches questions about how to better her gymnastics and she said that that usually works.
Christina has only good things to say about Romanian gymnastics. She admires the gymnasts very much and likes how they work hard. They have very rigorous training. She watches gymnastics on TV all the time, recording it and playing it back in slow motion helps her with the skills she is having trouble with. Christina says that her favorite gymnasts are Shawn Johnson and Nastia Liukin, they took first and second at the Olympics.
The “Arizona Sunrays Hard Rock Invitation” was her first competition in Glendale, Arizona. Before, this competition had been held at the Phoenix Civic Plaza. The University of Phoenix Stadium was in construction for three years, and finally opened their gates in August of 2006. The brilliant architect was Peter Eisenmam. A 15 minute drive from downtown Phoenix will bring you to the 63,400 seat Stadium. This stadium is the ideal location for games, basketball, football, concerts, and even rodeos and corporate events. Overall, the Arizona Phoenix Civic Plaza Competition was great and Christina’s motivation for gymnastics will never end!
Octavian D. Curpas