Interview with Zoe D’Angelo | Submitted by Emiliey Kahl Photography by Tammy Kahl, Jen Fatta, & Sheryl Z Photography Pennsylvania
The Nomination, by Tammy Kahl: Emiley is a level 10 gymnast in Lancaster Pa who has managed to always hold her head high and not give up. 2 years ago, she hurt her ankle at practice and ended up needing tendon repair, so missed most of the season. Emiley work so hard to come back from her injury. She still went to practice every day to condition and was excited to start training again in the middle of summer. Then Emiley fell off the beam and tore her other ankle, which resulted in surgery. She had surgery again in May and by August started training and conditioning. She has a drive and goals, and no matter what obstacles she faces she continues to push forward.
How did you become interested in gymnastics? When I was little, I used to do flips all around the house. My mom decided to put me in gymnastics, so I had somewhere safe to flip. It turned out that I loved it.
When times were hard for you and gymnastics, how did you get passed them? When times get hard for me in gymnastics, I think about how my life would be without the sport. Gymnastics is a big part of my life and I’ve sacrificed so much for it. I don’t want it to all be a waste. I also think about all my amazing friends. My teammates help each other through everything. Without them and my coaches, gymnastics would be more difficult.
Tell me about your injuries you’ve had, and how you’ve overcame them. I‘ve had some injuries that haven’t impacted me a lot (like a broken wrist), and I’ve had some that made it hard for me to come back. I tore my Peroneal tendon in my right ankle in 2017 before a big competition. After my ankle injury healed, I returned for the next season and then tore a bunch of ligaments and tendons in my left ankle. When I found out I would need another ankle surgery, I had to decide whether I wanted to try to come back again or give up my gymnastics dreams. I decided to keep trying with the help of my family and teammates and my coaches. From time to time my ankles still affect me, but I would much rather keep pursuing my dreams than give up. Gymnastics teaches you determination.
If you encountered a child who wanted to be a gymnast, just like you, what would you tell them? I would tell them to follow their dreams, and never give up. When you feel you cannot do something, make that be the motivation that pushes you harder. Confidence goes a long way, so if you are confident in yourself you can go so far.
Do you plan to continue with gymnastics in the future? College gymnastics has always been a goal for me and I will continue trying my best until that day comes.