Zoe Newson is a two time Paralympic bronze medal winner in power-lifting for Team GB. Having won bronze in the women's under 40kg category in the London 2012 Paralympics, Zoe traveled to Rio this year to compete in the under 45kg category. I caught up with her a little while after arriving home from Rio to ask her a few questions:
Hi Zoe, first of all I want to say huge congratulations on the bronze in Rio, competing in a heavier category must have been tough this year?
Thank you! It was a little tough. Being in a new, heavier weight class the people in it are lifting more weight which meant I had to as well if I wanted to place in the medals.
You’ve also been nominated for Sports Personality of the Year in the Suffolk Sports Awards 2016. This year has been a great one for you, but where did it all start for you in terms of power-lifting?
It's been a good year for me winning another bronze in Rio. I first started in 2007 when I was at high school. My old coach was there he said because of my size I would be good at it but initially I said no as I loved to watch my brothers play football. I came home after speaking to my coach and told my parents, they said to just try it and if I didn't like it to not continue with it. But I enjoyed doing power-lifting from the start and it’s just gone from there really.
So your size helped you enter the world of power-lifting. As someone with Growth Hormone Deficiency (GHD), are there any barriers you’ve had to overcome within the sport to get to where you are today?
With power-lifting the only barrier I’ve experienced was that my arms do not fully straighten. I find it hard at times, but people with GHD struggle to straighten their arms out naturally. This can be tough especially in the move I perform [bench press]
Power-lifting is tough, but what changes did you find in your training in the run up to Rio compared with London 2012?
London training was harder physically and mentally than Rio because it was my first games and everything was new. In Rio I had to train harder physically in order to compete in my weight class.
And how big was the role of nutrition in your preparation – for both training and competition?
It’s a huge part of both, I remember pre-competition diet for London, for me, was the hardest I ever had to diet - before I completed in London I was living on Weetabix, chicken and water for two weeks. Luckily Rio was a little easier as I moved up a weight class, which meant my diet was a little more relaxed, but I still had to be careful.
What’s the first thing you ate after competing in Rio?
The first thing I ate after comp was chocolate and there was free McDonald's at the Olympic village - I had it every day after I competed!
Free McDonalds sounds epic! When you’re not preparing for the Olympics, how do you keep yourself busy?
When I'm not preparing for competitions I work at a children nursery which I enjoy. I meet up with friends and spend time with family which is really important to me. I also watch a lot of football! I watch Stanway Rovers [local football team] play football and I also go to watch Arsenal play which I really enjoy.
From you’re social media it seems you’re a HUGE Arsenal fan, so last of all what are your predictions for this years premier league? Do you think they can do it?
Arsenal will win it this year I hope - We have a strong team! I always love going to the Emirates the atmosphere is amazing and the Arsenal fans are all so friendly.
We'd like to say a big thank you to Zoe for taking the time to speak to us, and wish her the best of luck on her journey to Tokyo 2020. If you'd like to connect with Zoe and stay up-to-date with her preparations as she looks to compete in the Tokyo 2020 games you can find her on her social media: