Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oksana Grishina

I am from Kaliningrad, Russia. As a child, my family moved often because my father was an officer in the military. When my father was put on assignment in Riga, Latvia, my mother decided she wanted to put me in gymnastics as a way to direct my energy. She took me to a gymnastics school in Riga. The Art Gymnastics class was not in session, but my mother liked the beauty of the Rhythmic Gymnastics class she saw at the school. At age 7 I was a late starter for gymnastics, but the coach saw potential in me and I was accepted into the rhythmic gymnastics class. After a few months of training, I placed 3rd in my first competition.

After three years, my father was reassigned to a new post in Russia. This job came with a guarantee of government housing, which meant that, finally, we would be in a settled place. Sadly, there was no gymnastics school in this city. My coach in Riga offered me the chance to stay there and continue my training. My parents asked me what I wanted to do, thinking that I surely wanted to move with them. But I was willing to stay in Riga and continue with my gymnastics. They were surprised, but understood my desire and passion for gymnastics. My father switched assignments with another officer so that we could move to Kaliningrad, Russia, a city that did have a gymnastics school. This was a huge sacrifice for my family, because the government would not provide housing for us. I was able to pursue my gymnastics in Kaliningrad, but we changed apartments often and I moved from school to school. I spent countless hours commuting back and forth on foot and by bus between home, school and gymnastics, and I rarely saw my parents.

Fitness was my life. I went to University in Kaliningrad and in 2000 earned a degree as a specialist in Physical Training and Sports. During my university years and for several years later, I organized my own ballet, “Antares”. I also worked as a choreographer with children at the Tchaikovsky School of Music and Art in Kaliningrad.

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