Tara Fitzgerald will be living and breathing gymnastics for six months after receiving a scholarship to attend Ollerup International Academy in Denmark.

A gymnast since the age of 8, Tara is now focusing on coaching. She is a coach, mentor and committee member at Waikanae Gymnastics Club and will use her scholarship to grow her skills as a coach.

"I love that gymnastics always offers such huge challenges both physically and mentally. Just when you think you have achieved something, there's another goal to reach which means it never gets boring.

"Coaching is by far my greatest passion in life.


"I love coaching because there is nothing more rewarding than seeing a child achieve something they didn't think they could as a result of hard work and perseverance.

"Watching their confidence grow is such a nice feeling."

A role model at her club, Tara enjoys promoting good morals alongside gymnastics training and being an example for younger gymnasts, especially teenagers.

"I hope to learn lots about gymnastics and its organisations from a different country's perspective, so that I can bring ideas from the academy back to our club.

"I hope to grow as a coach and gymnast so that I can give more back to the children and teenagers that I coach."

Attending the academy, Tara will have to step back into her leotard as the academy is mostly focused around each student's participation in physical classes — learning through doing.

"This will help me as a coach as it has been a while since I've been a gymnast myself.

"It's always helpful to have a fresh reminder of what it's like to be in your gymnasts shoes. I'm very excited to see what this is like again."


Having studied education and criminology at Victoria University, Tara is also looking forward to experiencing a different part of the world and seeing how what she has learnt relates to real life.

"I am so excited to live in such a progressive country and see how their culture works, as this ties in nicely with my degree.

"I am looking forward to living completely outside of my comfort zone, living and breathing gymnastics."

Joining Tara in Denmark will be another gymnast from Auckland who also received a scholarship from Gymnastics New Zealand.

The scholarship covers accommodation, food and tuition for the six months Tara will be in Denmark, however Tara will need to raise money for flights and other expenses while over there.

"I hope that Ollerup will also provide me with more opportunities within performance gymnastics and open doors for me outside of our club, in the wider gymnastics world.

"When I started coaching I found this was something I really wanted to be good at, and it is something that you never stop learning from."

To help Tara make it to Ollerup to further her skills visit Tara's Journey to Ollerup on Facebook.