“I only started training in November last year, just for a bit of fitness.”
Yet just a few months later, ice skating coach Zoe Wood was standing on podiums collecting four gold medals.
Zoe, who coaches at the Swindon Ice Arena at the Link Centre, is a former British champion and won her last British title 13 years ago. But after concentrating on coaching and having three children, Zoe decided to do a bit of skating for herself and build up her fitness on the ice rather than in the gym.
“I felt quite good and started jumping which also felt quite good and then I pushed myself even more, “ explained Zoe, 34, who lives in Moredon. “I then put a programme together in February and started to find myself getting competitive again.”
Despite a relatively short period training, Zoe decided to take part in the world’s largest adult figure skating competition in Obertsdorf, Germany, six weeks ago. She won gold in the Ladies Masters Elite category with a record-breaking score and also scooped gold in the Ladies Masters Elite Artistic category.
Zoe, who first started skating at the Link Centre aged five, has since won two further gold medals at the British Adult Championships. “You have to be 21 or over to take part in the British adults and I was up against four girls who were just 21.
“I was the oldest one taking part and it was a pretty high standard. I did a triple and double axel and I don’t think anyone had done that in the British adults before.”
Zoe was cheered on by her six-year-old twin daughters Zarah and Zinia (pictured above) at both championships, who joined her on the podium to celebrate with their mum.
“The two girls both skate and they were really proud and excited by the whole experience, my son Zkai was a bit young to take it all in,” said Zoe. “I think it showed to me that you are never too old to achieve your dreams.
“There were 28 countries taking part in Germany and there was one American lady who was 55 – she was amazing. Ice skating is just fantastic and is different to any sport. Anyone can take part and it doesn’t matter how old you are.”
Cllr Keith Williams, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Corporate Services and Leisure, said: “Zoe is a fine example of what you can achieve if you combine talent with hard work. I would like to congratulate her on her fantastic achievements, which I hope will inspire many other figure skaters in Swindon.”