Some years ago, on one of the Fitness4x4/Hour of Power instructor’s courses, a young guy turned up with a very friendly attitude and a pleasant smile. The group of attendees consisted of mostly individuals from the London area or nearby towns. We all gathered in the part of the local restaurant reserved for the weekend-long course. Before any other activity, we always ask attendees to introduce themselves to the rest of the group informing us about the reasons they decided to attend, their exercise background, where they are coming from etc. At some point, through the introduction, it was Xavier’s turn. He stood up and told us his name and that he came from Paris … then continued with the rest of his story. I was pleasantly surprised to see that someone found it worthwhile to come for a two-day course from a different country and invest his extra time and money. He told us that he had read somewhere about Dragan Challenges in America, was very impressed by the story and wanted to know what was behind it. We all applauded loudly when he finished his introduction with a smile which you never forget once you have seen it. Already he stood out from the group.
The course was very dynamic and enjoyable maybe because the individuals in the group were on the same ‘wavelengths’ which made the presentation run smooth. The first day’s presentation lasted longer and when we finished Xavier asked us if we could recommend a local hotel since he did not have the time to book it from Paris. We phoned a couple of small hotels and guest houses in the neighbourhood but with no luck. Before we continued to check other places, one of my sons suggested that we invite Xavier to be our guest for the night since it was already late and the seminar was starting quite early the next day. We agreed and moments later Xavier was in our car going to our place. That was the day that we all felt strongly Xavier would be with us for a very, very long time.
Quite a few years have gone past since then. Xavier’s dedication to fitness4x4, his enthusiasm about Hour of Power and his friendship was second to none. He inspired me with his ideas, with his healthy living, with his unprecedented support to our efforts to keep the Hour of Power alive and available in different parts of the world. At fitness shows there was nobody more excited about our stage presentation than him, there was nobody with such energy talking to the visitors promoting our courses and our method of training. His contribution to the success of every show was very valuable and appreciated by all.
This year he was not there in person and we all missed him a lot. But, with his face and name printed on my vest, he walked around with me for two days silently observing the visitors of the show. People who knew Xavier were very sad to hear of his death. The word ‘death’ seemed inappropriate when I just used it because, to me, Xavier cannot die. I feel his presence, his uncompromising belief in the victory of his ideas and our tasks. Wherever he might be now I guaranty he is converting his surroundings into Fitness4x4 enthusiast just the way I will be doing when I move on from this earth.
Some of you might find this last comment little funny but those who are aware of the last several weeks of Xavier’s his life will think differently about it. During the last 10 days of his life, I visited Xavier several times. He was in a lot of pain and losing his battle with the illness. The hospital where he was staying, realizing his serious situation, brought a doctor- specialist to help save Xavier. And even in such times, barely holding on to his own life, enduring terrible pains in his body going through the agony only he knows, he managed to convert that doctor to fitness 4×4! When he was telling me about it there was a special glow on his face and pride in his voice. I could not believe what I was hearing – a man whose life was about to end ‘rescues’ the man who came to rescue him. I was speechless looking at my good friend’s face with the familiar smile that surfaced through the shadows of his continuing pain and suffering.
It was a year ago but it seems as if it was yesterday when in the quiet evening in our fitness camp on the mountain in Montenegro, as I was about to go to bed, my mobile telephone received the message: ‘’Xavier has died’’.
The mountain was silent; I was alone looking at the depths of the night sky saying my farewell to this unique human being, my genuine friend and supporter. Then I wrote on a piece of paper: ‘For my good friend and the Fitness4x4 General- Xavier’ placed that piece of paper on the floor in front of me, switched off the light, picked up a pair of my 20kg dumbbells and began to send my message to Xavier: “My friend you will never die for me!”
Xavier wanted to come and work with me on the camp development but it was not meant to happen.
Dear friends – all those who found in Hour of Power even a small portion of what I have found, Rajko and the rest of our family, Xavier and all other loyal supporters – I ask you to remember Xavier when you pick up a pair of dumbbells to do your class or do vertical your lifts this week. This is how we are saying ‘hello’ to him now.
Dragan Radovic, Hour of Power Founder