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ESPOO MAGAZINE 1/2018

A MAGAZINE FOR ESPOO RESIDENTS

THE PEOPLE OF

THE PEOPLE OF ESPOO SIGHTS SET ON THE 12TH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEDAL Team OVO from the Olari Gymnastics Association is the most successful aesthetic group gymnastics team in the world. This year, once again, they have their sights set on a World Championship medal. “BELIEVE IN your dreams and work hard for them,” reads the text on the ballet training hall of the Esport Center. The hall and the canvases next to it offer a training space for dozens of Olari Gymnastics Association’s athletes every day. Many of them dream of winning the World Championships in aesthetic group gymnastics. The dream is hardly unrealistic: Team OVO, the club’s women’s representative team, has participated in the World Championships every year since they were first organized in 2000. The team has been amazingly successful. “We have always landed among the top five. We have eleven medals, seven of them gold. Last year we came home from the Championships with bronze medals,” says Anneli Laine-Näätänen, Head Coach of Olari Gymnastics Association and a Finnish gymnastics legend. When asked about this year’s goals, Team OVO’s brand new captain, 14-year-old Aurora Kapanen, smiles slightly and says that athletes always strive for the gold. Laine-Näätänen is not quite as ambitious, as she states that the team has just welcomed a few new members, so any medal will be enough for this season. IT IS easier to believe in dreams when you have been following the success of older gymnasts in your club ever since you were small. Kapanen, too, has been a part of the club all her life. “My parents put me in the children’s group, Pikkurytmiset, nine years ago. I love that we have a new programme for each season and there are always new challenges. I don’t mind spending so much time training when it means I also get to spend time with my friends, and I’ve always really enjoyed gymnastics,” she says. However, belief in success alone is not enough—you need to be ready to work hard for your dreams. Simply seeing Team OVO’s weekly programme can make you exhausted. Mondays are reserved for resting, but all other days contain one or two three-hour training sessions. The total weekly training time can be 25–30hrs. “In addition to the actual gymnastics, training includes regular ballet sessions, control training provided by a physiotherapist, as well as strength and mobility training,” Laine-Näätänen explains. THE TEAM includes solid expertise from many different fields. In addition to the coaches, the team has a massage therapist, two physiotherapists, ation and a Finnish gymnastics legend. also get to spend time with my friends, sage therapist, two physiotherapists, a dietician and a psychologist that are always there for the team members. “Health and well-being should be priorities for everyone, but top athletes in particular cannot afford to neglect them. It is important to me that I can help my team both to become top gymnasts and grow up into happy adults,” Laine-Näätänen explains about her heartfelt approach to coaching. Professional investments can be expensive. The association and the Gymnastics Federation offer financial support, but Laine-Näätänen would also like to see local businesses take an active role in supporting top athletes. “The success of local sports teams can be used to boost community spirit and make locals even prouder of being from Espoo,” she says. SARI ALHAVA The women’s representative e tive team from the Olari Gymnastics Association sociat io has participated ipated in the World Championships ips since 2000. 00. CITY OF GYMNASTS trampoline gymnastics artistic gymnastics rhythmic gymnastics aesthetic group gymnastics acrobatic gymnastics ESPOO O MAGAZINE 1/2018 >> 23

THE ESPOO STORY IS ESPOO’S STRATEGY UNTIL THE YEAR 2021. THE STORY IS A JOINT EFFORT OF LOCAL INHABITANTS AND THE CITY’S EMPLOYEES AND ELECTED OFFICIALS. IT WAS APPROVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL ON 11 SEPTEMBER 2017. THE STORY GUIDES ESPOO’S OPERATIONS TO ACHIEVING COMMON GOALS. ESPOO.FI/ESPOO-TARINA ENG_24_Espoo_1-2018_Takasivu.indd 24 2.3.2018 14.41

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