By Andrew Rankin - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Her silver and bronze medal performances on Wednesday against the world’s best wasn’t what made Ellie Black most proud.
Instead it was a fourth place finish that day at the world university summer games in Kazan, Russia, which had the Halifax gymnast beaming.
For the first time in competition, the 2012 Olympian tried an especially difficult vault routine, which among other mind-bending feats of athleticisms, required her to execute two full 360-degree body twists in a second or so and then land squarely on her feet.
She nailed it but ended up just shy of the podium. But that did little to temper her joy in Black’s third and final day of competition.
“When I landed my vault, I just had a huge smile on my face; I wasn’t thinking about my result, I knew I did it,” said Black. “I was so happy, everyone was telling me how great I did. I was so proud.
“It took a little more than I’m used to mentally and physically, and it’s hard when it’s the third day of competition. My body was a little tired so I had to go a little harder but everything went so well.”
Leading Team Canada, the reigning senior national all-around champion placed fourth on Tuesday in the women’s all-around final.
The next day everything came together for the 17-year-old, who approached the final events full of confidence.
Following her vault performance, Black placed third on the beam, and then silver on the floor. She’s became the first Canadian woman to medal in artistic gymnastics at the annual event since 1983.
“I approached the day just like normal, to go out there and approach the routine the way I wanted to. I wasn’t thinking about the outcome at all, I was focused on performing my best. I’m so proud to come back home with two medals for Canada and I had a blast while doing it.”
Now Black, who will start her first year at Dalhousie University in September, has her sights set on the World Gymnastic Championships in Antwerp, Belgium from Sept. 30 to Oct. 6.
“That’s my next big challenge.”