By Anna Rose Johnson
The name Ellie Black has become synonymous with Canadian sports success. A two-time Olympian with world-class routines on every apparatus, Black enjoyed her most successful World Championship appearance in Montreal last fall, winning an historic all-around silver for her country and qualifying to three event finals. In this new interview, Black describes her unforgettable Worlds, the best moments of her career thus far, and her goals for the future.
Inside Gymnastics: Could you tell us about your experience at 2017 Worlds?
Ellie Black: Having the opportunity to compete at the 2017 World Championships in Montreal was incredible. Not every athlete gets the chance to compete at a major competition such as Worlds in their home country, so I just wanted to take in every moment and enjoy the experience with my team. We wanted to represent Canada the best way we could and have strong performances on home soil. We felt so much love and support from everyone cheering us on and it will be one of my most special and memorable competitions!
Inside: What was it like to win the all-around silver in Montreal?
Ellie: It was really a dream come true to win an all-around medal in Montreal. I have always dreamed of winning a World Championships medal, so to achieve that in Montreal on home soil with all of Canada watching was something beyond special. You can’t ask for a better situation to win a World championships medal for your country. All my friends and family were watching, and it is something I can share with them and the rest of the gymnastics community in Canada because it was a team effort to make that happen. It was Canada’s first men’s or women’s all-around World Championship medal so it was even more exciting to have that happen in Canada. It was great to show that Canadian gymnastics is improving and can be in the top mix in the world!
Inside: What have been some of the highlights of your elite career?
Ellie: I would say some [of the] biggest highlights of my elite career have been having the opportunity to represent my country at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games achieving 5th as a team and 5th in the all-around competition. [Also,] winning the 2013 Canadian National Championships the same year as my ALTA teammate and training partner, Hugh Smith. [Another highlight was] competing with my team at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto, [and] winning five medals for Canada. Most recently, having the opportunity to compete at the 2017 World Championships on home soil, winning a silver medal; Canada’s first ever all-around Worlds medal, and making three event finals.
Inside: Are you currently training any upgrades? Can you tell us about some of them?
Ellie: Right now I am working on getting back into routines and competition season. I have had a toe injury that I have been recovering from so hopefully working on some upgrades later in the season!
Inside: Are you working on any new floor choreography? I really enjoy watching your powerful yet artistic floor routines.
Ellie: I am keeping my current floor choreography for now! I’m excited to develop it more as we move through the upcoming year.
Inside: How has your training been going since Worlds?
Ellie: We took a bit of down time for some rest and healing after Worlds. I mentioned earlier that I injured my toe in training and have been working on healing and recovering from that. I am excited to get back into full training and competition season!
Inside: When will your next competition be?
Ellie: I am hoping to be a part of the Canadian team [for the] 2018 Commonwealth Games team, which is at the beginning of April, and then we will see go from there!
Inside: What are your goals for 2018?
Ellie: I would love to help out our Canadian team at the Commonwealth Games and the World Championships in the fall and help with the first steps of the team Olympic qualification process.
Inside: What are your long-term gymnastics goals? Is Tokyo 2020 a goal?
Ellie: I am taking it day by day! I love gymnastics and I am not quite ready to be finished yet. It is a tough sport with many unexpected injuries and hardships so I will continue to take it one step at a time. My main goal is to help my team as best I can and help qualify our team for the 2020 Olympics but I am just taking it one year at a time.
Inside: What are some of your favorite competition memories?
Ellie: Competing at my first Olympics is a memory I’ll remember forever. Our team had much fun on the competition floor and all cried when we qualified for the team final and then when we placed 5th as a team. That was one of the most exciting and special memories. Competing at the 2015 Pan Am Games was incredible; my first big competition on home soil and with the whole crowd cheering for Canada. I couldn’t hear the end of my floor music in the all-around and event final competitions. Winning five medals for Team Canada was also very exciting for Canadian gymnastics.
Competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics in the all-around competition with my teammate Isabela [Onyshko] was an amazing experience. I had a great competition and placed 5th all-around making history for Canada. And of course competing in the 2017 World Championships. I had so much fun competing with my team on qualifications day, and then competing with Brooklyn [Moors] in the all-around final and event finals. It was the most incredible moment when I won silver for Canada in the all-around, and to be able to share that with my team, coaches, friends, family and all our fans in Montreal is something I will never forget.
Fun Facts about Ellie
Favorite Color/Favorite Leotard Color:
“My favorite color is blue, but I also love black. I love black on leotards as well as teal, blue, purple, pink, and of course patriotic red!”
Favorite Country to Visit:
“I love visiting Japan! I enjoy the unique culture, food and people. My coaches and club have many friends and connections to Japan so we love visiting. The equipment there is also very soft and bouncy, so it is fun to train on.”
“My family has two border collie dogs!”
Outside the Gym
“I love to spend time with my family and friends outside of the gym. I enjoy taking my dogs on walks by the ocean, exploring the outdoors, and having movie nights to wind down.”