Canadian gymnast Ellie Black wins five medals for second Pan Ams in a row

LIMA, Peru — Canadian gymnast Ellie Black’s breakout performance came four years ago in Toronto. Her Pan Am Games encore in Lima was on par and nearly one better.

Black’s record-smashing run to the podium continued Wednesday with a silver medal in the women’s beam event at the Villa El Salvador Sports Center.

She was also in position for bronze in the floor competition but missed the podium when the final gymnast — teammate Brooklyn Moors — delivered a knockout performance for gold.

Black was cheering her on throughout the performance and they hugged after the scores were finally posted after a 10-minute delay.

“I was really excited for Brooklyn,” Black said. “I wasn’t really thinking about myself, I was thinking about her.”

Moors, from Cambridge, Ont., won team silver with Black last weekend before reaching the top of the podium here for the first time with a score of 13.900.

“I’m in shock,” Moors said. “I had expectations for myself but I just wanted to go out there and do what I’d been practising. It’s pretty incredible.”

Moors was docked one-10th of a point for stepping outside the boundary, but still held off Kara Eaker of the United States at 13.800. Officials conducted video reviews of both routines after an American appeal, a Canadian team spokesman said.

Black and Moors patiently waited together — discussing random things, Moors said — before the final results were posted.

“I can’t even put it into words,” Moors said. “I was so nervous but I was so happy with how I did.”

Black called it a gorgeous routine.

“I was tearing up while I was watching it,” she said. “She’s so beautiful. That’s what we were waiting for. That’s an amazing accomplishment for her.”

Brazil’s Flavia Saraiva took bronze with 13.766 while Black was fourth at 13.433.

Black, who earlier won gold in the vault and individual all-around along with bronze in the uneven bars, became Canada’s most decorated Pan Am gymnast on Tuesday. Her effort on the finale of the five-day competition sent her career Pan Am medal count to double digits.

Going fourth on the eight-woman start list, Black nailed her front and back flips on the beam — fighting off a couple minor wobbles — before sticking the landing.

Her score of 13.566 was nearly two points behind Eaker (15.266) and just ahead of American Riley McCusker (13.333).

Black, who won three gold, one silver and one bronze in Toronto, matched her overall medal output this time around despite picking up a nasty cold after arriving in Lima.

“I’ve been blowing my nose like every day on the podium … you’ve just got to keep trucking along,” she said.

Black had all five medals hanging from her neck during a photo shoot afterwards, the hardware clinking together like wind chimes as she walked.

The Lima midway point is still a few days away but she has already cemented her position as one of the athletes of the Games.

“You hear it and you read it and you see it,” she said of the hype. “But it’s a couple long days of competition, so I was really just trying to stay focused on my gymnastics and not so much the results or all the crazy cool history things.

“But now that I’m finished I think it’s important to be able to soak that in and enjoy that. It is really amazing for this sport, for Canadian gymnastics and for Canada.”

Black earned a fifth-place finish in the individual all-around at the Rio Olympics for Canada’s best-ever result in the event.

Her strong form continued in 2017 when she won silver in Montreal, becoming the country’s first all-around medallist at a world championship.

The Halifax native won her sixth all-around national title earlier this year.

“She’s been a rock on the national team for a long time,” said coach David Kikuchi. “She’s used to the Games atmosphere and competing multiple days in a row and she’s really good.

“When she does her best routines, she’s able to compete with anybody in the world.”

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