Zero Gravity dream come true for gymnast
By Christine Bolaños
LEANDER — At only 16 years of age, Cathy Zeolla knew she wanted to own her own gymnasium. It was at that point in her life that she began teaching children younger than her how to perfect their gymnastics skills. To Zeolla, gymnastics was more than a passion, it was a gift. She trained at the elite, otherwise known as the Olympic level, so she was among the cream of the crop in her craft.
She spent time at several gyms in the Syracuse, New York area, before moving to Cedar Park with her family. She established the gymnastics program at the local YMCA and was there for 10 years before moving on to a home-based gymnastics school and also taught alongside her sister-in-law in Nevada. She eventually opened her own gym in 2008. In 2014, she expanded Zero Gravity Gymnastics and Cheer at a new and improved location and facility.
“The other location was in the Railyard on (RR) 1431. It needed to expand. We were losing students. We couldn’t put any more kids in [classes] because we were so limited [in space],” Zeolla explains.
And so, with much support from her husband Frank, she became a business owner and made her dream a reality.
“I’ve known I wanted my own gym since I was about 16 or 17 years old. When I started teaching I remember thinking, ‘Someday, I’m going to own my own gym.’ And it’s true. Thank goodness to my husband. He’s a big help with his business background as director of operations at Pizza Hut,” Zeolla shared.
Zero Gravity offers programs in gymnastics, cheerleading, tumbling and features birthday parties, parents night out, after school care and more.
Good quality coaches, a new facility and Zeolla’s philosophy, passion and training as well as the training employees get through the Gymnastics Association of Texas are all factors in the gymnasium’s success, she said.
“I believe in hands-on training, being a very positive atmosphere with the kids and my employees,” Zeolla added.
The proud business owner has been a gymnast since she was three years old.
“When I started coaching I fell in love with the coaching aspect of it which helped me become a better gymnast because I understood the skills. Ever since then I have been teaching,” Zeolla said. “I have been teaching for 37 years. I did Olympic training from 1969 to 1980.”
Elite level training gave her the opportunity to train all over the world.
“I always believe in going for your goals. I have accomplished a lot of goals. I have a 19-year old so I think it’s really important for her to see that women can stand on their own two feet and go for all of their goals,” Zeolla added. “There are going to be ups and downs but keep striving forward and believe in yourself.”
Zero Gravity employs 20 people, including 16 coaches, who combined have 70 to 80 years of experiences.
Several of the coaches multitask by coaching on some days and taking on other responsibilities, such as working after school on other days. Zeolla, herself, does a lot of coaching.
“I teach a lot of the beginner and recreational classes. I’m also managing 20 employees and do maintenance. My husband does a lot of the outside [maintenance],” she said.
The New York native has lived in Cedar Park for 15 years. She and her husband chose the city due to its strong school district.
They have a 19-year-old daughter Ashlee who is an all star cheerleader going to Worlds Championship in Disney World. Their 16-year-old son Frankie stays busy with lacrosse.
Zero Gravity has taught gymnastics at Bill Burden Elementary in Liberty Hill ISD before and plans to do so again in the near future.
“The curriculum is gymnastics and we go up there. There’s about four instructors that teach all day. Every classroom goes through [physical education] and we teach them gymnastics skills and safety,” Zeolla shared.
She said her business also set up a booth at a previous Summer Sizzler event in Liberty Hill. Zero Gravity is an active member of the Greater Leander Chamber of Commerce.
“I love what I do and I think it comes across when I teach gymnastics. When parents and kids, especially, give you hugs, that’s why I do it. Just to see the happiness, the excitement of learning,” Zeolla explained.
“Sometimes we have children with disabilities [come in]. This one little girl, she can’t hop with two feet. She kind of gallops but can’t jump off her two feet at one time but she did it at one time. You could see in her face and especially her parents’ faces the excitement,” she added. “I think that’s where I get the reward is seeing these kids when they accomplish a skill. That’s the best.”
Zero Gravity also has “phenomenal” competitive gymnastics teams including two male members who qualified for junior Olympics.
Parents Night Out is coming up on April 18 and summer camp registration is underway. The facility is open weekdays and closed Saturday and Sunday. It is located at 2041 S. U.S. Hwy. 183 in Leander.
For more information, visit www.zerogravitygymnasticsandcheer.com.