Exciting Lives: Elsa Garcia and Ana Lago

7:14 PM Arabian Punch Front 0 Comments

Ana Lago (L) and Elsa Garcia (R) at the Central American and Caribbean Games 2014
Photo Credit: solodeportemx.com

Azteca Opinion recently published a 15 minute video documentary on Mexican gymnasts Elsa Garcia and Ana Lago on Vidas Aspasionantes (Exciting Lives). In 2012, both Garcia and Lago went to the Test Event with Garcia earning the Olympic nomination with a higher all around score. They have both been at the 2014 and 2015 World Championships where Mexico finished 21st. Again, 2 gymnasts will be named to the Test Event and only 1 will get the spot for the Olympics. They have both had trials and tribulations including an ACL tear for Lago and a current knee injury for Elsa Garcia after hyperextending her knee at this year's World Championships.

I am forever thankful to aliyamustafina on tumblr for translating the interview. Any notes are in parentheses.

(In case above link does not work, here is a link to the twitter)

At the beginning they thank TV Azteca for going to Monterrey, where they consider it’s home in Mexico for gymnastics.

Elsa: Hello, I am Elsa García and I am an Olympic gymnast who has have attended to four Centro American Games, three Pan-American Games and one Olympic Games. I have won approximately 15 Centro American medals, three Pan-American medals, 12 World Cup medals and in 2009 I was awarded during Worlds with the Longines prize for elegance.

Ana: Hello, I am Ana Lago and I am a gymnast. Everyone knows me as “Fany” and I am Centro American medalist. I am floor champion from Pan-American Games in Guadalajara 2011 and also won bronze as a team during those games. I’ve been two times to Worlds. And we are looking for the qualification to the next Olympic Games.

Reporter: Hello I am Antonio Rosique. The Olympic Games haven’t been the same after one July night in 1976 the Romanian Nadia Comaneci got for the first time the perfect 10. Nadia turned into an Olympics symbol; her grace and charm captivated the entire World. Millions of girls began to practice gymnastics following the inspirational image from this prodigious Romanian athlete. Today in “VIdas Apasionantes” we are going to enter to this “tiny” yet extremely demanding world where dominating the body and defying the gravity happens. We are going to enter to the heart of the Mexican gymnastics where a bunch of girls grow, train and dream to achieve the perfection just like once, Nadia Comaneci did.

Elsa: I started doing gymnastics when I was 3 years old and probably same as most athletes, I was very energetic and I couldn’t stand still. My parents said I needed to canalize all my energy into something so they got me into gymnastics.

Coach: If I could describe Elsa in just a few words I would say Elsa is gymnastics and she is Mexico.

Elsa: My mom went to “El Regio” (Elsa’s and Ana’s gym) to sign me in. She spoke with the coaches and she told them she just wanted me to have fun and not feel stressed or pressured and they agreed but after time it was me who wanted more and more.


Coach: Chances are that someday someone else will beat Elsa but then they’ll have to remain as the best gymnast in Mexico for at least 12 years and win the medals she has won.

Ana: I’ve always been told I am very funny, charismatic, and happy and that I always enjoy what I do. I think I haven’t changed much from when I was a kid and I think I will remain the same way forever.

Coach: Fany’s face is like “dreamy” and it’s also fierce and competitive.

Ana: It’s always very satisfying to teach the younger girls all the things you know, what you have learnt, your experiences as well as your victories and defeats or talk to them about your injuries. I also try to teach them that the most important thing is to enjoy what you are doing.

Coach: Fany is a gymnast who sometimes I have to be breaking because she is always hungry for more. (He always has to stop her because she is so full of energy)

Interviewer: Mexico has never gotten an Olympic medal in gymnastics and every day it fights to earn a spot in a sport which is traditionally dominated by Russia, United States, Romania and China. Mexico has given individual steps through years trying to get closer to the elite; in Sydney 2000 Denise López got 7th place in the vault final. In London 2012 Daniel Corral got the 5th spot in Parallel Bars; Elsa qualified to London 2012 and now Ana Lago is working to make the Olympics as well.

Ana: It’s my passion; since I was kid gymnastics always grabbed my attention and I love to be jumping, doing spins, being upside down or that feeling that I’m flying.

Elsa: Gymnastics makes you feel happy, free or you feel that you can fly but also you get to feel fear, pain, frustration or exhaustion. All those things you can feel them at the same time in one training.

Ana: To be honest all the apparatuses have made me feel mad at some point. Every apparatus has certain elements that even though you try and try one day they just won’t work and you just repeat to yourself that maybe that day the element won’t happen for you, but maybe during the next training it will and you know you are going to keep trying and you will give your best in order to get it and then after that you’ll feel happy with yourself.

Elsa: We realized the past Olympic cycle after we ended up in 17th place (she giggles nervously and sort of jokes about being super close to making it) that if every girl scores at least 13.600 in each apparatus we could make it and that has been our main goal from this Olympic cycle.


Coach: It’s not easy to get the 13.600 in each apparatus even though it might sound that way. Our main focus during this cycle has been paying more attention to “the order” instead of the monetary resources. Countries who are in the top 10, apart from keeping order in their programs, they take in account the monetary resources. Unfortunately we don’t have that much money so we can only focus on keeping our program ordered.

Ana: I always try to picture everything big, while I am training at the gym I always try to imagine I’m in a big competition to force myself to deal with the pressure you get to feel when you compete.

Elsa: This gym has taken years and years of hard work, shortcomings and dedication but here we are. (She says this while she cries)

Coach: We call this gym “the tiny house of gymnastics” and keeping it has taken a lot of work from everyone; you can see pictures of the girls helping to repair the gym or helping with the construction. It still is very hard and the goal hasn’t been achieved yet but if we really want to succeed we need to do what all of the successful countries do.

Ana: Every time we finish a hard training and we end up very exhausted our coach, the doctors and therapists decide to get us into a pool with cold water and ice. (Both laugh a little about that)

Elsa: It’s a very risky sport, even though we have mats to protect us when we are training a new skill there comes a time when you have to do it without all the protection, just by yourself. In gymnastics, when you land if you weigh 50 kg just to give an example, then it would be 10 times more so that would be 500kgs for each landing. Now, if you keep doing repetitions of the elements just like we do during trainings, then you end up landing around 1 ton per training.

Ana: After my injury I feel my life did change a lot. Now I feel stronger and more of a warrior, even more than I was before.

Coach: Fany had a very serious injury on her knee and she needed surgery but now she is back in shape. She is very competitive, hard worker, disciplined and a fighter.

Ana: I always repeat to myself “It’s a bad day not a bad life. Even though it was a bad day today, that doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be better”.

Elsa: Gymnastics is way bigger than Elsa García. I am just a tiny spot who is in line helping things to grow. (I think she meant it as in Mexican Gymnastics)

Coach: I am sure if we keep working very hard just like we are right now, we are going to win an Olympic medal someday.

Ana: I give everything to gymnastics, this is what I love most to do and during each routine and competition I give the best of me to leave that “tiny grain of sand”.

Very grateful for the translation as well as this video feature. Wishing these athletes the best of luck as head into the Olympic year!