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Ellie Black takes her leadership role seriously as she prepares for her third Olympic Games

At the London 2012 Olympics, Ellie Black was a nervous teenager, a new face on the Canadian Gymnastics team, inexperienced but full of potential. At this summer’s Games in Tokyo, Black will be a veteran and a team leader, the person the younger athletes look to for advice and guidance.


Ellie Black takes her leadership role seriously as she prepares for her third Olympic Games

“I feel like I’ve grown and come a long way, not only as an athlete but as a person,” said the 25-year-old Halifax native who trains at the Halifax Alta Gymnastics Club with coaches David Kikuchi and Keiji Yamanaka. “I think a lot of that comes through experience and obstacles, things you’ve had to overcome over the years and really just growing, having more experiences and knowledge build up.

“I’ve had lots of injuries over the years, we’ve had to be adaptable, resilient, and persevere. Having been through a lot of ups and downs, you gain a lot of knowledge and experience that can really help you for whatever the situation is.”

Black has earned her leadership role, not just because she is a veteran but because of what she has done in her career. 

Her fifth-place finish at the Rio 2016 Games was Canada’s best-ever performance in the all-around competition at the Olympics.  She’s won 10 medals, five of them gold, at the last two Pan American Games, and was a silver medallist in the all-around at the 2017 World Championships.

Black takes being a leader seriously. She understands her actions can affect the growth of the team’s younger members. 

“Part of that role is to be able to help the younger ones, the ones who don’t have as much experience, to feel comfortable, to understand what’s happening and be part of the team,” she said. “It’s really making sure everyone feels prepared and ready and as comfortable as possible, sharing my experience with those athletes. 

“It’s important to stay true to who you are. I’ll be singing and dancing around the gym but when I need to be focused, I can really zone in and focus and do what I need to do.” 

With this being a very different Olympics, leadership will be important when the women’s artistic gymnastics qualifiers begin July 25th at the Ariake Gymnastics Centre. The artistic gymnastics competition will run until August 3rd.  

Friends and family won’t be able to attend, and organizers are still deciding if fans will be in the building. 

“That sense of teamwork is going to be really important,” said Black. “We’re really working on having those conversations about things that might come up and things that are going to look different and how we can handle those and be there to support one another.” 

Having the Olympics delayed a year due to COVID-19 helped Black recover from ankle surgery following an injury at the 2019 World Championships. 

“There was at least a silver lining of having a little bit more time to rest my ankle, make sure it was strong,” she said. “I feel like I can be stronger and a little more prepared.” 

As a young athlete Black dreamed of performing at an Olympics. Now she is preparing for her third Games. 

“It’s kind of surreal,” she said. “Reaching an Olympic Games, one is an accomplishment.   

“We’ve been working so hard for so many years. To get another opportunity to represent Canada -- I’m very grateful for that opportunity.” 

READ ELLIE’S BIO WITH FULL RESULTS HERE: http://gymcan.org/disciplines/womens-artistic-gymnastics/national-teams/ellie-black