N.S. gymnast qualifies for London Olympics
Ellie Black is the ninth Nova Scotian to earn a spot on Canada’s team, closing in on the record of ten which was set in 2000. (Photo taken from YouTube video)
Published Friday, June 29, 2012 6:21PM ADT
Nova Scotia’s gymnastics community was celebrating Friday, after 16-year-old Ellie Black of Halifax qualified for next month’s 2012 London Summer Olympics.
Black is the ninth Nova Scotian to earn a spot on Canada’s team, closing in on the record of ten which was set in 2000.
Black has battled through a dislocated elbow, a broken thumb and foot surgery over the past two years, but it was all worthwhile when she landed a spot on the Olympic team Thursday.
“It was crazy,” says gymnast Paulina Miller. “It was really exciting, especially for Ellie, knowing she’d been working so hard to get to that point. I mean, it’s great for the gym and Nova Scotia in general. It is big news.”
While ten Nova Scotians have already qualified for the 2012 games, as many as 12 could be London bound after this weekend’s National Track Trials in Calgary.
The Canada Games Centre in Halifax has been a key part of the success of many Nova Scotian athletes, providing them with a world class training facility right here at home.
“We’ve had a real hub, a real buzz of activity, because we’ve known and the athletes have known that there was going to be lots of opportunities to qualify this year and we’re actually seeing that happen, so that’s tremendous,” says Ken Bagnell of the Canadian Sports Centre Atlantic.
Bagnell chalks Nova Scotia’s success up to the new facility, as well as increased funding that saw 25 fulltime coaches hired across the province.
“The more fulltime coaches there are, there’s a direct correlation in the ability to train an athlete to a level where they can be an Olympian or a Paralympian,” says Bagnell.
Nova Scotiahas long been dominant in kayaking and canoeing, but now the province is making a splash in other sports.
“Now we’re seeing athletes in boxing, gymnastics, athletics also qualify for the team, so it’s the diversity of sports now that they are achieving international results, which is very good for the province,” says Bagnell.
Especially for young athletes who now have new role models.
“The little girls here look up to her every single day, training,” says Miller. “They all know who she is, they all ask where she is. It’s great.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Garreth MacDonald