Dynamo coaches Elvira Saadi and Denis Vachon with Brooklyn Moors
It’s been a rough year for the sport not only in the U.S., but around the world, with accusations against coaches, trainers, and doctors coming full-speed-ahead from athletes stepping up and demanding accountability from adults they trusted.
What I’ve loved in the darkness, however, are the adults in these positions who continue to remind us of the light. For every evil force, there are hundreds more willing to stand up for their athletes, who value their gymnasts as people over medal-winners and money-makers, who strive to make the sport a positive and character-building lesson for life.
Two of these coaches are Elvira Saadi and Denis Vachon of Dynamo Gymnastics in Cambridge, Ontario. The Canadian gym that gave us 2012 Olympian Victoria Moors and her younger sister Brooklyn, who achieved Canada’s highest floor ranking in the country’s world championships history last year in Montreal, is known not only for producing some of the country’s top gymnasts, but also for coaches who would do anything for their athletes.
In filming this miniseries last summer, we had the pleasure of seeing Elvira and Denis in action for two days. In a sport often known for being intense, strict, and serious, Elvira and Denis showed us a new side of training, where athletes can enjoy themselves and have fun while also getting the job done at the highest possible level. These coaches were tough but fair, intense but conscious of when the gymnasts needed a break, and goal-oriented but not at the expense of their athletes’ well-being.
Elvira and Denis showed us how the sport could be if every coach, club, and national program valued gymnasts as human beings first and athletes second. Their actions and how they talked about their gymnasts (and each other!) made us love this pair so much, and we’re excited to help you get to know them better as they get ready to lead Team Dynamo at Canadian Championships this weekend.
Article by Lauren Hopkins
Video by Alexandra Leask
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