Injured Canadian gymnast Ellie Black fourth on balance beam at Olympics




A mixture of pride and disappointment enveloped Ellie Black after the Canadian gymnast placed fourth on balance beam Tuesday at the Olympics.

Embarrassed by a sprained left ankle that knocked her out of the all-around, Black competed in a beam final with American star Simone Biles, who won the bronze medal ahead of the Canadian.

China won both gold and silver with Guan Chenchen, 16, scoring 14.633 and Tang Xijing, 14.233.

Biles was tied at 14 ahead of Black’s 13.866.

Black was right next to winning Canada’s first Olympic medal in women’s artistic gymnastics.

With her ankle not up to the level of difficulty she had built into her beam routine, the 25-year-old from Halifax was nonetheless still in contention for the podium performing a modified version with a coiled ankle. .

She finished difficult elements with a few swings, but blocked her landing. She then hugged her trainer David Kikuchi and cried.

“Obviously coming in fourth is tough, but just to be able to compete and make the final and get my routine on the beam done, I’m very, very happy about it,” Black said later, emotion still shaking her at times. voice.

“It wasn’t the beam routine I expected but still being able to participate and take this opportunity and represent Canada to the best of my ability under the circumstances, I was really proud of me.

Kyle Shewfelt was the first Canadian to win a medal of any color in artistic gymnastics when he won gold in men’s floor practice in 2004.

Black sprained his ankle in June and made it worse coming off the beam in practice a week before Tuesday’s final.

She retired from eventing and spent anxious days in physiotherapy, wondering if her Olympics were over. Black was conservative in the warm-up on Tuesday, not trying any aerial elements.

After a few hand jumps back on the floor, Black stood at the edge of the mat and began to tackle the device while visualizing his routine.

Black’s drama has paralleled that of Biles, a three-time gold medalist who withdrew in last week’s team final when she was suddenly unable to orient herself in the air.

The American did not attempt to defend her all-around title, nor did she make the finals on uneven bars, floor drills and vault. Biles was cleared to compete on the beam.

“My problem was why my body and my mind weren’t in sync and that’s what I couldn’t figure out,” Biles said. “Where did the wires not connect?”

“It was really tough. It was something that was out of my control. The result I had at the end of the day, my mental and physical health is better than any medal.”

Similar to Black, Biles performed a modified beam routine quite good for his seventh career Olympic medal.

“She’s been through so much,” Black said. “It’s important that she prioritizes what she needs.

“I’m glad she got another chance on the pitch much like me. Another chance to come out and show what we are training so hard to do even though it wasn’t exactly what we expected. . “

Black was an all-around silver medalist at the 2017 world championships in Montreal after placing fifth at the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

She tore the ligaments in her right ankle at the 2019 world championship.

The COVID-19 pandemic pushing the Tokyo Games from 2020 to 2021 gave Black more training time, but misfortune did not allow him to fully express it in Tokyo.

“To train for five years for these Olympics and it doesn’t go the way I wanted it to be heartbreaking in a way because I couldn’t make it to the all-around final,” Black said. .

“I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to be for the beam final, but that being said, there have been so many good things over the past five years. To finish like this is always a good thing. something for me. Fourth in the world is something very respectable. “

Three years before the Paris 2024 Games instead of the usual quadrennial, Black does not rule out a fourth Olympic Games for her.

“I’m not ready to be done with gymnastics just yet,” she said. “I still have goals that I want.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published on August 3, 2021.



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