GOLD COAST, Australia — After collecting a six-pack of medals Sunday, Canadian gymnasts won a silver and bronze on the final day of artistic competition at the Commonwealth Games on Monday.
Montreal’s Cory Patterson tied for second on the horizontal bar and 17-year-old Shallon Olsen of Surrey, B.C., claimed bronze in the women’s floor exercise.
There were plenty of near-misses on the day, however. Four Canadians finished fourth, including women’s all-around champion Ellie Black in the floor. Canadian team officials challenged Black’s score, saying one of her leaps was not recognized. But the so-called inquiry was rejected.
“I thought it was a good routine but sometimes that happens and you don’t get the score you’re exactly looking for,” the 22-year-old from Halifax said diplomatically. “But I was proud of that performance and ending up on a good note at these games.”
Black’s performance was stylish and vibrant. But the judges found it lacking, apparently.
“It’s a judged sport,” said Ian Moss, Gymnastics Canada’s high performance director. “You have to take the good and the challenges at the same time.”
The games give Moss and his coaching crew a solid platform to build on, ahead of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“Having an experience like this at a multisport games is really what’s important for these athletes in the buildup through to the Olympic environment,” he said. “Overall I’m really pleased.”
Added Black: “This is just the beginning of the next few years.”
Moss credited Black and Calgary’s Brittany Rogers for their leadership at the games. And 16-year-old Jade Chrobok of Toronto stepped up after a late injury to Rose Woo.
Canadian gymnasts won 11 medals (three gold, five silver and three bronze) here, compared to nine (3-3-3) four years ago in Glasgow.
There may be more medals to come with three days of rhythmic gymnastics looming. Canada won five gold and a bronze on the rhythmic side four years ago but is fielding a younger team this time out.
Black finished with two gold — in the individual all-around and women’s team event — and a silver in the vault. She left Glasgow four years ago with a gold (balance beam), silver (vault) and bronze (floor).
Black was happier about the team success here.
“It was an amazing performance,” she said. “I’m really proud of our team. That was the main goal coming in here (to win the team event) and we delivered with that. The girls did amazing in the finals, we were able to get more medals for Canada. So I’m very proud,”
In addition to her bronze, Olsen leaves with two golds (vault, team). Vancouver’s Scott Morgan picked up two silver (floor, team) and a bronze (rings) to go with his two gold (rings, vault) and bronze (team) in 2014.
One day after finishing fourth in the rings, Rene Cournoyer of Repentigny, Que., was fourth in the men’s vault and parallel bars while Isabela Onyshko of Minnedosa, Man, was fourth on the beam.
Cournoyer’s tough day Monday continued when he fell off the horizontal bar, finishing sixth.
But he was all smiles when he emerged. “I had a lot of fun,” he said.
Black also had a rough start to the day, falling on the beam to finish sixth. But she elected to see the bigger picture.
“I’m really happy with my performances. It’s not exactly what I was looking for today but I’m still happy with these games,” she said. “It gives me something to work towards in the future.”
The crowd at the Coomera Indoor Sports Centre roared on the action, starting with the men’s vault.
Christopher Remkes gave the fans something to cheer about, with Australia’s first gymnastics gold of the games. Cournoyer and North Vancouver’s Scott Morgan, the defending champion, slid down as the competition wore on and finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Still, Morgan leaves with two silvers (team, floor) and a bronze (rings). Four years ago in Glasgow, he won four medals (gold in rings and vault, silver on the floor and bronze in the team).
“I’m going to keep on (competing),” said the 28-year-old from North Vancouver. “This has motivated me to come back in the gym and try to get back on that podium. Try some new skills, bring up that difficulty (level) a little bit and hopefully help the team to get the spot in 2020 (at the Olympics).”
In addition to Black’s all-around gold, Canadians won medals in seven of the 10 individual finals.
Organizers did their bit to raise the drama of Monday’s five individual finals, with the crowd clapping the athletes into the dimmed stadium before each event. The competitors emerged from a corner of the arena, with a blast of smoke marking their arrival through a doorway emblazoned with their electronic flags.
Scores were announced on big screens, with each competitor shown next to the leader with a gauge filling up to show whether there was a new face atop the standings.
Spotlights danced over the crowd between athletes, with an MC offering play-by-play of a replay of the performance that just happened.
There was plenty to watch with the men’s parallel bars going on at one end and the women’s beam at the other, with athletes on each alternating performance.
There was a singalong of the Aussie folk song “True Blue” before the final two events of the day, with the big screens revealing the author, singer-songwriter John Williamson, in the crowd.