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No Holiday Downtime for Garcia
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In the latest of IG Online's holiday features, Elsa Garcia of Mexico describes her holiday season full of travel and training.
Elsa Garcia

Garcia, the top Mexican performer at the 2006 World Championships, spent Christmas with her parents and sister in Monterrey. On New Year's Eve, she is traveling to Veracruz for a get-together with her father's side of the family (including his brother and sister) and one of her mother's sisters.

"We usually play card games like UNO, and the food is a variety of traditional Mexican dishes," Garcia told IG. "We stay up late talking about just about everything!"

Garcia enjoyed a very successful competition year in 2006. Coached by the husband-and-wife team of Antonio Barraza and Teresa Lopez, she placed fifth all-around at the American Cup in March; first all-around at the Central American and Caribbean Games in the summer; and 33rd all-around in preliminaries at the World Championships, held in Aarhus, Denmark, in October.

Although Garcia is busy outside the gym during the holidays, she has been training regularly (with the exception of December 24, 25 and 31). She expects to join other members of the Mexican national team at a training camp that begins January 2 in Cancun.

"Antonio is planning a training camp in Cancun because the weather is going to be too cold here for us to train, (since) we don't have a heater in our gym," Garcia explained.

At the 2006 Worlds, Mexico placed 18th. The top 12 teams at the 2007 Worlds (to be held in Stuttgart in September) will qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and teams 13-18 will qualify two individuals each for Beijing. Garcia's gymnastics goals for 2007 include Olympic qualification.

"My New Year´s resolution will be to train as hard as I can so I can be in the best shape possible for Worlds," she said. "This will help Mexico fight and achieve a place among the first 18 countries, so we can send at least two gymnasts to Beijing. Although finishing among first 12 countries would be like a dream come true, I think that (top 18) will be the goal for most of the girls on the national team."

No matter what, Garcia said she wants to be content throughout the new year.

"A personal resolution would be to enjoy every moment as it were my last, because it's not coming back," she said. "I want to make the most out of everything."

Read a profile on Garcia in the May 2006 issue of International Gymnast magazine.

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