|Polish veteran Joanna Litewka told IG she is eager to enjoy the holidays with family and friends after a successful competitive year.
IG Online continues its yearly holiday series, bringing you the scoop on what the world's best gymnasts will be up to at the end of 2010!
Following a year during which she helped her team improve five ranks and advance to the 2011 World Championships, Polish veteran Joanna Litewka told IG she is eager to enjoy the holidays with family and friends.
"I will spend Christmas at home with my family, and New Year's Eve in a club with my friends," said the 24-year-old Litewka. "The tradition in my house is that we wait for the first star and then we go eat. We also pray before eating. We eat fish and many, many things, then we go to open presents. We celebrate Christmas in a happy atmosphere."
A mainstay on the Polish team for the past several years, Litewka has contributed key scores on her best apparatus, vault.
Litewka placed first on vault at the 2007 Ostrava World Cup in the Czech Republic and seventh on vault at the 2007 Ghent World Cup. In 2008 she placed 11th on vault at the DTB Cup, a World Cup meet in Stuttgart. Litewka finished among the top 15 on vault at the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 European Championships, including 12th-place finishes in 2006 and 2009.
At this year's world championships in Rotterdam in October, Litewka helped Poland placed 17th, an improvement of five positions from the 2007 worlds in Stuttgart. No team competition was held at the 2009 worlds in London.
Litewka said Poland's success in Rotterdam, which advanced her team to the 2011 worlds in Tokyo, was only one highlight of her year.
"There were many moments that satisfied me," Litewka said. "For example, that I could represent Poland and start in many competitions for Poland such as the European championships and world championships, and that I could get good results."
Litewka, who trains in Krakow under coach Beata Bodzon, said Poland has the potential to achieve higher results.
"I think that, to get better positions, we must start in many competitions and also go to training camps outside our own country," she said.
Litewka said she plans to focus on vault and floor exercise in training next year, but will continue to balance her schedule that also includes university studies and two jobs.
"My life is not only gymnastics," she said. "I also study at Akademia Wychowania Fizycznego in Krakow, work with children to prepare them to be gymnasts, and am a fitness trainer."
Litewka said she has specific ambitions for the new year, but she is not revealing all of them.
"My gymnastics goal for 2011 is preparing for the world championships in Japan," she told IG. "Outside of gymnastics, my goal? It's a secret!"