“Oh my gosh! That’s incredible. That’s awesome.”
That was probably the reaction many had to watching Ellie Black win five medals in five finals at Toronto 2015. It was actually Black’s own response when told she was the first athlete at these Pan Am Games to stand on the podium five times, a feat later match by Colombian gymnast Jossimar Calvo Moreno.
Black has been a true star at the Toronto Coliseum. She capped her competition with two gold medals in the span of about an hour, finishing first on both beam and floor exercise.
“For beam, landing the dismount was amazing,” said Black. “It’s always amazing when you make your beam routine. I was going into it with the mindset not worrying so much about staying on the beam but really doing my routine the way I know how to, every single skill the best I possibly could, so I was so so excited with that beam routine.”
Black had the highest degree of difficulty of any of the beam finalists – a whopping 6.5 – that along with her precision produced a final score of 15.050, a full point more than silver medallist Megan Skaggs of the United States. A fellow Canadian, Victoria-Kayen Woo, claimed the bronze after being the first gymnast to hit the apparatus.
Twenty minutes and one victory ceremony later, Black was back for the introductions on floor exercise. As in the team competition, where she clinched silver for Canada, and the individual all-around, in which she became Canada’s first Pan Am Games champion since 1979, her final tumbling pass was one that had the fans roaring.
“In my floor routine, for the last line when my feet hit the ground I was so happy just to land that last line,” said Black. “I couldn’t even hear my music the crowd was going so loud so I was just hoping I was on time with the music.”
Black won the gold medal with a score of 14.400, finishing two-tenths of a point ahead of American Amelia Hundley.
Her performances have been inspiring to everyone, from her teammates such as Woo, to the young fans in attendance who were clamouring for her autograph, to the Canadian men’s team which finally got on the medal board thanks to Kevin Lytwyn’s silver in the final event of the competition, the horizontal bar.
Lytwyn joked that it took so long for the men to get that first medal “ ’cause Ellie’s hogging all of them” but added: “She’s an amazing athlete. She’s like a bro pretty much. She’s super cool and she trains hard and that’s what you get. You get results.”
As for whether it has hit her yet that she will leave Toronto 2015 as one of the most decorated athletes of the Games:
“None of it has (sunk in). I think when I go home it will. It’s been incredible. I’m just blown away. It’s so unreal.”