Please tell us a little bit about yourself.


Born and raised in an athletic family in Transylvania, Romania (my mom was a speed skater and handball player, my dad was a track and field athlete and speed skater). My dad coached at 3 Olympic Games for Romania, 1980-84-88. I was a speed skater until the age of 18, when I chose to study over skating (Bachelor in Phys Ed and Sport). As a kid, I used to play a lot with kids around the block (gymnastic tricks on carpet beating poles, badminton and basketball). As a skater, I medaled a few times at National competitions. At 19 years old, I got involved as a trainee at ISU (International skating Union) training camps and coaches’ seminars (1999-2006). Thanks to the way I grew up, even though I am a high performance coach now, I believe and encourage free play for kids and young adults (self-discovery and awareness, coordination and mental skills). I coached in Slovenia for 2 years. During my coaching years in Romania and Slovenia, I was coach at World Junior Championships, European Championships, World Cups and University Games. I came to Canada in 2007, for a coaching position in Laval Quebec. In 2008, I was part of the Quebec Provincial coaching team for the Canadian Age Championships in short track speed skating. In 2014, I was named Assistant Coach at CRCE Montreal (Centre Regional Canadien d’entrainement). In 2015, we as a family decided to move to Calgary (close to mountains and lots of sunny days were the main attraction). I speak fluently 4 languages (Romanian and Hungarian as native languages; English and French). In 2019 I was head coach for Alberta Short Track Team for the CWG. I was honoured to be chosen to say the True Sport Coach’s Oath in French at the Opening Ceremony (picture attached).


I finished the Advanced Coaching Diploma at INS Quebec in 2013.


I am also a classically trained Pilates certified teacher. I guess my passion is human movement, healing and growth through movement – all types: recreational or competitive. I am a mother of 2 (10 and 6 years old).


How has sport provided you with new or different opportunities you would not have expected?


Even though as a kid, after my dad returned from the ’88 Games, and later as teenager, I was dreaming of one day me coaching in Canada, I never thought that the opportunity will arise. I rather focus on becoming the best coach I can be through studies, learning from my mentors, parents and the ISU camps and seminars. And when opportunity came, I was ready to embrace the coaching opportunity in Canada, and eventually in Calgary, where my dream started with my dad having coached biathlon and cross country in Canmore at the Games.  And my teaching and coaching reflect that. My advice: it is good to have dreams, goals and expectations, but “don’t let dreams become your goals and don’t let goals become your expectations” as you risk losing the focus and the main idea of you becoming the best you can.


On a personal note, sport brought me to Canada, where I met my spouse who is from same city as I am, so we met 8000km away from home 😊.


What skills did sport teach you to overcome challenges?


Discipline, ability to adapt and perseverance; accountability and self-reflection of one’s abilities. Also, the importance of acceptance.


What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to improve inclusion in sport?


Sport and play has been designed to unite human beings regardless of gender, age, status…. Natural skills, desire-willingness, intelligence, support can be anywhere. We all learn and grow eventually by learning from each other. So, I guess, Be Open and Give everyone a chance.


5 words that best describe me are:


PASSIONATE | REALISTIC (by no means optimistic) | DIRECT (frank) | SZÉKELYS or SZEKLER (Hungarian ethnic people from Transylvania) | CARING


Instagram: @cristalazarescu