Black wins individual all-around Pan Am Games gold in Toronto
Ellie Black brought the Toronto Coliseum crowd to its feet twice on Day 3. Once after she finished her final routine on floor exercise. And again when it was confirmed that she had won Canada’s first Pan Am Games gold medal in the individual all-around since 1979.
Black’s final score of 58.150 landed her atop the podium ahead of American Madison Desch (57.450) and 15-year-old Brazilian sparkplug Flavia Lopes Saraiva (57.050).
Black started steadily on vault, posting the fourth highest mark (14.550), and just continued to gain momentum, improving on all of her scores from Sunday’s team event in which Canada won silver. Of particular note was the uneven bars from which she had fallen on a release element and on beam where she had fought throughout the routine to stay on.
“Today I really wanted to come in and focus on those little details, things that I needed to improve on from day one,” said Black. “Having those mistakes gives you that mentality to come in and those little things you have in the back of your brain to really focus on so I think that helped me just to have that focus today.”
Black went on to record the highest beam score of the night (14.950) which gave her a nice lead of half a point heading into the floor exercise. And just like in the team event, it was the highlight of her night with stuck landings on her impressive tumbling passes.
“That was unreal,” said Black of her performance. “Landing my last line I was so happy, just put everything into my last bit of dance and tried to take it all in. It’s incredible being up there having the crowd standing, cheering you on. That was just an unreal feeling.”
A London 2012 Olympian, Black recently established herself amongst the world’s elite with her ninth place finish in the all-around at the 2014 World Championships for Canada’s best ever result in the event. She’s also in the hunt for more Pan Am medals, with the individual apparatus finals to come in vault, beam and floor exercise.
“With the crowd here supporting you it definitely gives you that amazing atmosphere in the building and it definitely pumps you up and gets you ready for your routine so it was incredible to have the competition here in Canada and I’m looking forward to the finals.”