Destined to Soar: An Interview with Zoe Dolling, Champion Gymnast.

Destined to Soar: An Interview with Zoe Dolling, Champion Gymnast.

Celeste Kocabay

 Destined to SOAR.

This interview series is aimed at celebrating, recognising and promoting the incredible talent and ferocious courage of our young women of tomorrow. 

Let's recognise the magnificent effort of girls' in sport across all codes!

Today our interview is with Youth Gymnastics sensation Zoe Dolling.  Zoe currently holds the Rising Star Award – PPRGA 2018 and 2023 Level 8 Bar Champion & Floor Bronze Medals. 

Soar Active had the privilege to catch up with Zoe and chat about her love for Gymnastics.

  1.     Zoe tell us about your early life?

Zoe: I live on a farm at Wokurna in the Mid North of South Australia, 2-hours North of Adelaide where my family are fifth generation farmers annually cropping 12,500 acres of barley, wheat and lentils. 

  1.       So how did you discover Gymnastics?

Zoe: My mum was determined to have a ballerina in the family so enrolled me in dance lessons at Hip Hop Bounce as a Tiny Tot 2-year old. It was okay, but I had my heart set on flipping upside down and tumbling as fast as I could. So off we went to a come and try night at PPRGA (Port Pirie Regional Gymnastics Club) when I turned six in 2018. I started straight into the WAG Level 3 Comp Squad. At my first award night, I so lucky to be awarded Rising Star trophy and have my photo in The Recorder, local newspaper. At PPRGA I was so happy to train with amazing coaches Lee-anne, Mel and Kelly.

  1.     What was your next step?

Zoe: When I was 8 years old, Lee-anne suggested trialling at Gymnastics SA Gym JETS (Junior Elite Talent Squad) part of the South Australian High Performance squad.  The trial day was where I met my new coach to be Sarah Hopkins (now Timoshanko) and India Colombi (my idol who is trialling for the Commonwealth Games) and ‘the originals’ my squad who all made me feel so welcome to the big city and inspired me each training.  My mum accidently registered me into the wrong age category, so all I remember from my first training in the city is Sarah kept asking how old I was during the session. Late last year I was so happy to be a flower girl at Sarah’s magical wedding in the Adelaide Hills.

  1.       How do you balance your competitive training and managing school?

Zoe: Currently training 18.5 hours Monday to Friday (during Winter) so that my Mum and I can travel home to our farm each weekend to be with Dad. To keep up with Year 8 school work, I set up my laptop in the back of the car and study all the way to school for 45 minutes each morning as well as spend at least one day on weekends focused on school work catchup

  1.       What do you do in your downtime?

Zoe: Most weekends I get dragged to watch my brothers play footy or cricket and spend time catching up with my Dad and helping him on the header or tractor with our crops.

  1.  What makes you feel happy, brave, and strong? 

Zoe: Competing … 

I just LOVE it! 

Showing off my skills I’ve worked so hard to reach my peak point and giving my everything to each apparatus. 

  1.   Tell us about a special moment in the last year? 

Zoe: 2023 Australian Gymnastics Championships on the Gold Coast in May bringing home the gold championship medal for Level 8 Bars and bronze medal for Floor. My heart was in shock when my name was called. Couldn’t believe it was me, a gymnast from regional South Australia being called to the national podium. 

  1.     What is your ultimate goal?

Zoe: I want to take my gymnastics as far as I can. I dream of being selected to representing Australia – Georgia Goodwin and India Colombi are so inspiring. So I’ll keep dreaming of LA28 or Brissy32 …. Fingers crossed with lots of work and focus.

  1.     What's your favourite attribute about yourself?

Zoe: My white line fever …. Even in the simplest of things; such as a running race against my uncle I just have to win or we can’t leave until I do. I love competing at school sport but mostly at competitions. I love the excitement and nervous happy energy.

  1.   Favourite song on repeat right now?

Zoe: Anything by Dua Lipa – loving Dance the Night Away, getting ready for the release of the new Barbie movie.

  1.   What has Gymnastics taught you about life?

Zoe: That you have to work hard and give maximum effort. If you keep trying you will eventually achieve your goals.

  1. What would you say to other young females about following their dreams?

Zoe: GO for it! You’ve got this!  & never ever ever give up! 

Have that spark of what you want to achieve, that fire in your belly, and you will achieve your dreams.

Follow Zoe's inspiring journey via Koorana Gymnastics on Instagram


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