Halifax teenager Ellie Black qualifies for London Olympics
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Ellie Black is going where no Nova Scotia female gymnast has gone before — to the Summer Olympics.
The 16-year-old from Halifax was named to the five-member Canadian Olympic women’s artistic gymnastics team on Thursday night following a selection camp in Gatineau, Que.
She’ll join eight other Nova Scotian athletes in London.
“I’m very excited,” Black said in a phone interview shortly after the roster was announced.
“To be able to go there with a full team from Canada and get that experience is going to be great. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Black had a first-place finish on vault and a second-place finish on beam this week in Gatineau, as well as sixth-place all-around score. Overall, she placed fifth in points among 11 hopefuls.
But because she finished outside the top four, she didn’t earn an automatic spot on the Olympic team and was forced to wait four hours while a Gymnastics Canada committee pored over the numbers to decide who was best suited for the final spot.
While that wait might sound excruciating, Black said she was tied up in drug testing for two hours and spent the other two grabbing a bite to eat with her coach, Fall River’s David Kikuchi, a two-time Olympian himself.
“It wasn’t so bad for me … Dave was a little more nervous,” she said with a laugh. “He was waiting for it and checking every five minutes … I was kind of like, I wonder when I’m going to know? But I’m very happy.”
Black was not expecting to go to the Olympics this year but had a breakthrough season, starting in April with a double-gold performance at a World Cup event in Croatia.
The Olympic artistic gymnastics event runs July 28-Aug. 2 and Aug. 5-7.
NOVA SCOTIANS AT THE OLYMPICS
— Ellie Black, Halifax (gymnastics)
— Mark de Jonge, Halifax (kayak)
— Ryan Cochrane, Windsor (kayak)
— Jason McCoombs, Dartmouth (canoe)
— David Sharpe, Halifax (swimming)
— Custio Clayton, Dartmouth (boxing)
— Amy Cotton, Judique (judo)
— Eric Gillis, Antigonish (marathon)
— Danielle Dube, Glen Haven (sailing)