MONTREAL — Halifax’s Ellie Black was all smiles on Friday despite coming agonizingly close to making history.
Black won silver at the artistic gymnastics world championships, losing out to new all-around champion Morgan Hurd of the United States by just .101 points.
The 22-year-old would have become the first Canadian to win gold at the worlds.
“I’m standing here with the silver medal, so I’m pretty happy with that,” said an upbeat Black. “There’s ups-and-downs in gymnastics, there are mistakes that are made. It’s part of the sport. There’s probably a bunch of athletes who would love to be in my position right now.
“I just feel so fortunate to have had this opportunity and to be here tonight.”
Hurd, making her world championships debut, took home the gold with a final score of 55.232 points. She narrowly beat out Black, who had 55.132 points. Russia’s Eremina Elena, with 54.799 points, finished third.
Brooklyn Moors of Cambridge, Ont., finished 15th with 51.965 points.
The medal is Canada’s first at the artistic gymnastics world championships since 2006, when Kyle Shewfelt (floor) and Elyse Hopfner-Hibbs (balance beam) each won bronze.
“It’s incredible to go out there and have that performance in Montreal in front of our friends and family and fans,” said Black, the five-time Canadian champion. “It was just an amazing night.
“There was a little more nerves because you want to have such a great performance in your home country, but it made it so much more exciting and so much more fun. It’s a memory we’re never going to forget.”
The sold-out crowd of nearly 11,000 at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium cheered Black and Moors every step of the way.
“It’s such an honour to be competing with such amazing girls,” said Moors, who was awarded the elegance prize at the end of the competition. “And the home crowd was amazing.
“I didn’t set any expectations for myself. I went in and just tried my hardest.”
Black began the finals with a 14.600 on the vault and a 14.233 on the uneven bars. She scored a 12.866 on the beam, after losing her balance on a few occasions. Those dropped points ended up costing her the gold.
Despite a less than perfect performance on the balance beam, Black entered the final discipline in first place, two tenths of a point ahead of Hurd.
“I knew what the general idea was going into the last rotation,” said Black. “But I try not to focus on that because the only thing I can control is the routine I was going to put out there.
“I had a mistake on beam, and in the sport of gymnastics it always comes down to tenths. It wasn’t a perfect day for anyone here.”
The 16-year-old Hurd performed first in the floor exercises, scoring a 13.733.
Black needed a 13.534 or better on the floor to win gold, but she earned a 13.433 instead.
“It’s crazy that I was even competing here,” said Hurd, who finished sixth in all-around after qualifications. “To think that I won is just the most surreal feeling in the world.”
Black has a chance to win more medals over the weekend as she is also competing in three individual finals: vault, balance beam and floor exercises.
Moors (floor) and teammate Shallon Olsen (vault) are also in the running for medals in the individual finals on Saturday and Sunday.
Notes: American Ragan Smith, a favourite to win gold in the all-around, was forced to withdraw from the final after injuring her ankle during the vault warm up.