Nick Moscu - 02 November 1950 - 29 June 2010
It is nearly impossible to count how many aspiring young gymnasts have trained at the Hamilton Mountain Gymnastics Centre since it first opened its doors over 27 years ago. What is certain, however, is that Nick Moscu inspired and encouraged each child to reach his or her full potential. His sudden passing on 29 June 2010 devastated his family and the gymnastics community, but left them determined to continue to teach in his memory.
1985 was the year
In 1985, Nick, together with his wife, Doina, founded the Centre (then called the Hamilton Mountain Star Gymnastics Clum) after fleeing from Romania just a few years earlier. A gymnast his entire life, Nick was a member of the National Gymnastics Team in Romania and later, became a prominent coach for the Romanian Junior Olympic Team, teaching Nadia Comaneci after her perfect performances at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Despite his own successes in the sport, Nick always dreamed of something more - a better and brighter life outside the cinderblock gymnastics compound in rural Romania. In 1978, he left for Canada with only forty dollars, a suitcase, a few words of English and the dream of opening his own gymnastics club where he could share his passion.
Love for the Sport
And passionate he was - but not just for gymnastics. Nick taught more than just a love of sport: he strived to teach his students to apply the foundations of gymnastics; strength, courage, and grace, not only to the sport itself but to everyday life as well. As his gymnasts quickly learned, Nick valued academic achievement: showing him a good report card meant fewer chin-ups at the end of practice, while a bad report card required an explanation and a longer conditioning set. As he used to explain, in Romania, athletic success was the path to a good life: in Canada, however, it was education that brought opportunities. His two daughters, Diana and Larissa, embody his passion and have dedicated themselves to higher learning. Diana holds a Ph.D. from McMaster University in Medical Physics and is a Health Physicist and lecturer at McMaster, and Larissa has a J.D. from Osgoode Hall Law School and works at a prestigious law firm in Toronto after finishing a clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada.
Those who knew and were taught by Nick remain forever changed: he inspired others to dream big and to set their sights forever upward. Nick always had a joke, a nickname or a word of advice for his gymnasts, and although he will not be smiling from the side, jumping on the trampoline with his students, or narrowing his eyes at a C on a progress report again, the Hamilton Mountain Gymnastics Centre will continue to teach its students to live with passion and be starts. For Nick, it would have be impossible to teach any other way.