Artistic Gymnastics

Rounding Off: Ellie Black earns top score at virtual Elite Canada meet

Plus, Dong Dong says Tokyo gold would be ultimate career finale, Daria Spiridonova retires, and we look back at China on bars from Athens 2004

By Scott Bregman ·

Two-time Olympian Ellie Black posted the highest score in the all-around at the first of three virtual meets held by Gymnastics Canada.

The 25-year-old, who finished second at the 2017 World Championships, earned a total score of 55.100 with individual scores of 14.350, vault; 13.350, uneven bars; 14.400, balance beam; and 13.000, floor exercise. Ava Stewart was second (53.200), followed by Rose Woo (52.300).

Gymnastics Canada will also hold two more Technical Trials, the first requires video submissions from March 25-31 and the second April 22-28.

Black last competed in March 2020 at the American Cup. That event was her first all-around outing since she injured her ankle in the all-around final at the 2019 World Championships. In an interview with Black late last year, the Canadian admitted the extra year to rest and recover had benefitted her.

“I try and look at it kind of as a silver lining of the whole thing… just having a bit of extra time for my ankle, not having to just push it that extra little bit and then hopefully give it that little cushion of time to really, really rest and be healed,” Black told Olympic Channel.

Her healing seemed evident from her Elite Canada performances, posted on the federation’s website. The highlight, perhaps, was Black’s clean and powerful front handspring layout full on vault – the same move where her injury occurred.

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Dong Dong: Winning gold in Tokyo would be the perfect finale

Three-time Olympic trampoline medallist Dong Dong says a second gold at Tokyo 2020 would be the ultimate way to bow out.

“I would love to win the Olympics for a perfect ending to my sporting career,” said Dong, the London 2012 champion, in an interview with the International Gymnastics Federation.

The Chinese trampoline star also picked up bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and silver at the 2016 Games in Rio. At the World Championships, Dong has claimed 12 golds including the individual titles in 2009, 2010, and 2013.

"I appreciate the word legend, it’s a recognition for my years long sporting life,” said Dong. “I have been very lucky over the years, had good coaches, lots of support and no serious injuries. If this was not the case, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy such a sporting longevity."

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Doha World Cup postponed…

The apparatus World Cup in Doha, Qatar, originally scheduled for March 10-13 has been postponed, according to the International Gymnastics Federation. The event has been moved to June, with specific dates to follow.

The event is the eighth of eight in the Apparatus World Cup series that is a qualifier to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. 

According to the FIG website, “Should the 2018/2019 and 2019/2020 Individual Apparatus World Cup Series not be held, the unused quota places will be reallocated to the next highest ranked eligible All-Around athletes by name based on the Individual All-Around results from Qualifications of the 2019 World Championships.”

It’s unclear what happens to those quota places if the series finale cannot be held.

“At this point in time, a definitive cancellation of the Doha World Cup is not planned,” the FIG said in an email to Olympic Channel. “However, discussions on all eventualities are currently ongoing with the IOC.”

2015 World uneven bars co-champion Daria Spiridonova announces retirement

Russia’s Daria Spiridonova announced Wednesday in an Instagram post that she would be stepping away from gymnastics. The 2015 World uneven bars co-champion and Rio 2016 team silver medallist has struggled with injuries to her ankle since late 2018.

“I’ve retired from sport,” Spiridonova wrote in her post. “It was a long and tough way that took 15 years. I love to perform at competitions and get unbelievable emotions. But over time I realized that the interest in training began to disappear.”

Spiridonova, who is married to reigning World all-around champion Nikita Nagornyy, helped Team Russia to second place at the 2019 World Championships. Individually, she finished sixth in the uneven bars final.

“I’m grateful to sport for everything, for people who have been there, for the support of our favorite viewers and of course for the experience, that can never be taken away!” she said. “It’s time to start new life, open new opportunities and write a new story.”

From the vault…

Team China on the uneven bars during qualifying at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

China earned the top team score on the event in qualifying, led by Lin Li (9.700) and Li Ya (9.675) who finished second and third, respectively. Errors in the team final ultimately meant China finished seventh in the medal round.

Lin Li and China on uneven bars during qualifying at Athens 2004

Team China on the uneven bars during qualifying at the 2004 Olympic Games i...