January will mark a decade since the withdrawal of Gervasio Deferr, only Spanish with two Olympic golds next to Saul Craviotto (canoeing) and Joan Llaneras (track cycling). After leaving him at the age of 30, the Olympic champion in jumping in 2000 and 2004 and runner-up on the ground in 2008 had a hard time getting off the stage and spent two years looking for his place until he found it in La Mina.
“I dreamed of opening a gym since I was 15. I chose the project in La Mina because I come from a family without resources and through sports my life really changed. What for me is a passion for them can be a hobby that can also change their life. And where better than where there are fewer resources? ”Reflects ‘Gervi’, proud of the project promoted to transmit his passion for gymnastics to children and adolescents. La Mina, he reflects, is “marginalized and maginal, both”, but he believes that the initiative launched in 2011 contributes to the “effort that the people of the neighborhood are making to clean up the image” of this area of Sant Adrià.
His journey to this popular sports center was not easy. “I spent two very, very bad years after retiring because you go from one day to the next from being an Olympic champion to the next to saying ‘what do I do with my life? Now do I have to work, train or what to do? Two years and making mistakes and learning more every day from the blows. Disoriented, I needed time to find my place. And now I have found it ”, he relates with passion. “Everything I’ve been through has been worth it to be able to be as I am today, to know myself as I know myself and to have learned everything I have learned. And change my life in many ways. Everything that happened was worth it, it would happen again ”.
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Deferr has no qualms about talking about it, neither with the media nor with his students, to whom he tells both the lights and the shadows of his time in the elite. Like the positive one that he had for marijuana in 2002 and that made his brilliant career stagger, a stumble from which he got up and hung two more medals at the Games in Athens and Beijing. “I would do it again. It made me realize that I made a mistake and that I had to change. He showed me who was unconditionally by my side and who was only in the photo when I won. I was 19 and I was a child, I didn’t know anything and suddenly it was a 23-year-old guy who had everything very clear and I went to the Games. Things happen and you have to assume them, not hide from them. You have to show your face. I tell the kids everything and say: ‘if you make mistakes, you will have to pay for it. If we start making correct decisions here, it will be easier later. And if nothing happens, we will give the host and learn from it. As I did and any son of a neighbor ‘”.
In the same way that he hopes that at the federative level they learn from mistakes and improve in helping former athletes. “My heart races when I talk about it. I think of those who have yet to retire and I think that we are not yet prepared in this country to take on this challenge of helping athletes when they are retiring. He is improving and working on it, but the problem in this country is that those who have not played sports in their lives rule. Those of us who have been athletes have another way of thinking and seeing life. We are not yet at the level of other countries ”.
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