Athlete – Gymnastics
At the age of 4, Kristina Vaculik attended her first gymnastics class at Gemini Gymnastics in Oshawa. Her mother Angela, a gymnast in high school, recognized the value of the sport for building strength, flexibility, and coordination, but she never imagined that her daughter would subsequently commit the next 18 years to pursuing her dreams.
By the age of 7, Kristina was competing at gymnastics meets in the Greater Toronto Area. Recognizing her natural strength and good work ethic, her coaches recommended that she advance to higher levels of training. Thus, at age 9, Kristina began practicing 30+ hours a week under the instruction of 1980 Olympic Champion, Elena Davydova, and associate coach, Valery Yahchybekov.
Kristina then moved to the national stage where she excelled at the pre-Novice and Novice levels, winning several titles including All-Around Champion at the 2003 Eastern Canadian Championships. The following year, Kristina suffered an elbow injury at her first Canadian National Championships; however, a smooth recovery allowed her to return to training and later that year she won the All-Around title in the Novice category at the 2004 Elite Canada Championships.
At age 13, she joined the Canadian National team and set her sights on the Olympics. From 2005 to 2008, she represented Canada at several World Cup competitions, winning one gold medal (balance beam) and one silver (uneven bars). She also competed for Canada in two Pacific Rim Championships, earning two individual and two team medals. In 2008, Kristina placed second in the All-Around at the Canadian National Championships, but a chronic elbow injury required surgery, forcing her to miss the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Despite this heartbreak, she chose to return to the sport and accepted a 4-year athletic scholarship to Stanford University.
Before her freshman year, Kristina rebounded on both the national and international stages, winning the All-Around title at the 2010 Canadian National Championships, along with two golds and two silvers at the Turnier der Meister World Cup in Germany, and two bronze plus a team silver at the 2010 Pan American Championships.
After her first year of university, Kristina returned home for a full year to train at the Gemini club in preparation for the 2012 London Olympic Games. During that year, she competed at the 2011 Pan American Games, winning bronze in the All-Around and silver on the balance beam while contributing to Canada’s team silver, and participated in the 2011 London Olympic Test Event, where she helped Canada qualify a full team for the Olympics in 2012. After earning her spot on that Olympic team, Kristina contributed to Canada’s historic fifth place team finish at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
Kristina returned to Stanford in the fall of 2012 to complete her bachelor’s degree and to compete for the Stanford Women’s Gymnastics team. In her junior year, she was named Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week three times and won bronze medals at both the 2014 Pac-12 Championships and the 2014 NCAA Championships. As a senior, Kristina led Stanford to a fourth-place finish at the 2015 NCAA Championships.
Kristina is currently completing a master’s degree in Public Health at the University of British Columbia and plans to apply her diverse skill set to improving the efficiency and quality of healthcare delivery in Canada.