--By Olympia Gymnastics
Much like the young athletes they’ve nurtured over the 12 years since their 2005 opening in the Kanata/Stittsville area, Olympia Gymnastics is all grown up now thanks to a recent expansion that brings the popular centre up to 15,000 square feet.
“We just took the opportunity to make the perfect size of gym,” explains executive manager Dezso Mesko, whose club has added new lighting too. “I never expected to grow this big to be honest, but the demand was very high, so I just had to adjust my outlook and move forward to accommodate as many people as we can.”
The additional space will benefit the wide range of existing Olympia programs – including its fun-filled March Break and Summer Camps, Artistic Gymnastics programs from first steps through to competitive, Trampoline & Tumbling, and Acrobatic Gymnastics – and will also enable increased program diversity.
The new area will be ready for gymnastics at the start of spring, with plans to add more foam pits, bars and trampolines on the horizon. The added room also makes it possible for Olympia to host competitions – they’d like to host a women’s artistic event in 2018, and the local pioneers of acrobatic gymnastics recently hosted Ottawa’s first Ontario Acro Cup in February.
Amongst those competing at the Acro Cup was Alison Overton.
“I’ve been at the gym since it was just one tiny room, right from the beginning,” recounts the 16-year-old Olympia veteran. “I’m so happy Dezso and Silvana (Mesko) were able to expand the gym to what it is today. It’s really amazing.”
Overton first came to Olympia as a 4-year-old, progressing from recreational through competitive artistic gymnastics, and is now a member of Eastern Ontario’s first, and only, acro team.
She says she enjoys a bond “like sisters” with her fellow gymnasts, as well as the younger preschool and CanGym recreational athletes she now coaches herself.
Olympia has become known for its family atmosphere and a tight community feel, sprung from its small beginnings.
“That won’t ever change,” pledges Mesko. “Some of those who were with us at the beginning are now parents and their kids are coming to toddler classes. And we have generations of athletes, like Ali Overton, who have grown up with us and are now coaching.
“Some families have moved from the west end into Ottawa but they still come here because they like the small community. It’s a really nice feeling here.”
The expansion does mean that some who may have thought Olympia was too small in the past can now have confidence that their needs can be met. The club also offers the luxury of strong stability within its coaching ranks, having worked with the same staff since its 2005 opening, including head coach Nausikaa Mauresan.
“We were here yesterday, we are here today, and we will be here tomorrow,” Mesko smiles.