Halifax gymnast Ellie Black withdraws from Olympic all-around final with sprained ankle
HALIFAX -- Canadian gymnast Ellie Black has withdrawn from Thursday's all-around final event at Tokyo Olympics with an ankle injury.
In an Instagram post, the Halifax resident confirmed that she sprained her ankle during a training session on Tuesday.
Black said she landed short on a beam dismount and re-injured the ankle she sprained right before coming to Tokyo.
“This is the best decision for my health and wellbeing," said Black, who was competing in her third Olympics.
On Wednesday, Black choked back tears as she expressed how frustrating it was to re-injure herself while in Tokyo.
“Hurting it here is difficult, it’s frustrating, it’s upsetting, but I’ve been through a lot of ups and down, it’s just another one of those that we have to overcome,” Black said during a virtual press conference from Tokyo. “I’m glad it wasn’t worse than it is, so that’s important, but it’s tough, it really sucks.”
Black finished the all-around competition 24th with a score of 53.699 in the all-around qualifications event.
She was sixth overall in the beam qualifying round with a score of 14.100, earning a spot in the main draw.
In a release, Canadian Olympic Committee chief sport officer Eric Myles said he hopes Black will recover in time for the balance beam final on Aug. 3.
"This has been the toughest year preparing for the Games and an especially tough last month with injuries occurring at the worst times. But I am so proud of the work I have been able to do under tough circumstances," she continued in her Instagram post.
Black's withdrawal leaves Brooklyn Moors as the only Canadian competing in the all-around final.
Black won silver in the all-around competition at the 2017 world championships in Montreal and gold in the event at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto and the 2018 Commonwealth Games on Australia's Gold Coast.
Abby Murrin has trained with Black for more than 15 years. Murrin said it's premature to count Black out for the Olympic Gymnastics Beam Final, scheduled for Aug. 3.
"I think it will take medical professionals to tell her that you cannot compete," said Murrin who coaches gymnastics at the Alta Gymnastics Club in Halifax. "Mentally, she is someone who is very driven and I know how badly she wants it."
Canadian Sport Centre Atlantic President Ken Bagnell said the injury is a major setback for both Black and Canada's hopes to win more medals in Tokyo.
"It's very tough. Ellie has been working hard for well over a decade at the highest level of gymnastics," said Bagnell. "But injuries are a part of gymnastics."
BLACK ON SIMON BILES DECISION TO DROP OUT OF TOKYO 2020
Black's injury came hours after one of her competitors, reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles, withdrew from the all-around competition to focus on her mental health.
Speaking to media on Wednesday, Black called Biles' decision “incredibly inspiring.”
“It’s really amazing for Simone to be able to, on that world stage, recognize what she needs, recognize that, even though it’s the Olympics, her mental health, her personal health, is a priority over an Olympic medal,” Black said.
The 24-year-old Biles first pulled out of the team final on Tuesday following one rotation because she felt she wasn't "mentally ready".
On Wednesday, Biles announced she would also be withdrawing from Thursday's all-around competition to focus on her mental well-being.
“That’s incredible and I think that’s very incredibly inspiring, to show we are just human over an athlete and we need to prioritize that," Black said. "There’s a lot of expectations and pressures, but a lot of it is what we put on ourselves,”
With files from the Canadian Press.