Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec —84kg


Every Medal Has A Story

                “The Best Competition Of My Life” - National Championships, March 2011

                                                


Every few years the Canadian National Championships are held in theprovince of Québec. In 2011 they were held in the city of Saint-Hyacinthe, about an hour and a half drive from Montreal. My teammates and I, in preparation, arrived a day before the opening ceremonies. At that point in my
competitive career, my training involved so much focus and attention to the point that my mental sphere seemed almost impenetrable on and off of the tatami. My mind was set in the ring, and that’s where I already was.

 That same evening, I received a phone call from my wife informing me that she was in-hospital:
I panicked asking her, “What’s wrong? What happened?” “It’s time,” she said. “I’m in labour.”

 Without much thought, words stumbled from my mouth, “Tomorrow’s my  competition! Can’t it wait?!” “No, it doesn’t work that way, Sorin!” she said. (To this day, every time I look back at that conversation I cannot help but laugh at myself…What was I thinking?!!)

 Within minutes of hanging up the phone, I notified my head-coach of the situation and was on my way back to Montreal. As I was trying to awaken to a new reality, I soon realized that I was about to father my first-born child.

My wife was still in labour when I arrived at the hospital. As hours went by, I continued pacing the corridors. At 4 am Tiffany was born a healthy, strong and beautiful baby. I cradled her in my arms for one hour—an hour that seemed to be frozen in time. All the world seemed to pass me by while
I was living in a realm of wonderment and joy. I wanted to hold onto that moment forever; it was a feeling like nothing I felt before in my life.

The night presented me with an excitement and enthusiasm as I returned to Saint-Hyacinthe at 6:30am. Once I arrived, I had maybe two hours to rest before the opening ceremonies were to start. Still holding onto a new feeling, a new reality I closed my eyes. The opening ceremonies began at 9am with all 600 athletes present. An honouring introduction warmed my heart as I was
congratulated for my newborn daughter.


Moments later I began competing in my division. During each of my fights that day, every point that I won I motioned to the crowd a gesture of cradling my newborn baby in my arms. And in turn, the crowd continued to clap and cheer me on. After several preliminary fights, many of which I won
with 8-0, I was very happy to make it to the finals. And, with my finals culminating to a score of 8-0, I was even happier to become national champion.


Throughout my competitive career I won many medals of all shapes and sizes, from many different countries. But this one was by far the most meaningful for me; I felt very honoured and blessed to become national champion on the same day that Tiffany was born.

 

What I learned from this competition: WHEN YOU ARE HAPPY YOUR BODY AND MIND ARE VERY STRONG.


 I thank Team Québec and the head-coach of Team Quebec, Germain Bisson, for their support. I also thank my wife for her strength and faith. Lastly and mostly, I thank my daughter, Tiffany; this story is dedicated to her.