In this second Olympic profile, I focus on second year senior Ellie Downie. Ellie who will be seventeen tomorrow (as at posting) trains alongside older sister and fellow Olympian Becky at Notts Gymnastics Academy, under coach Jo Miller.
In just one and a half years as a senior gymnast, Ellie has already achieved so much, and is one of the most exciting AA talents to come out of Great Britain. A hugely successful junior, Ellie won team silver, AA bronze, and vault gold at European level, and vault silver, AA, beam, and floor bronze at the Youth Olympics.
At senior level, Ellie became the first British WAG to medal AA at European championships when she claimed bronze in 2014, she also qualified for the vault final where she finished 5th, and the bars final where she finished 4th. In October Ellie was part of the bronze medal winning world championship team, and also qualified for the vault final where she finished 4th, and the floor final where she finished 6th.
In 2016 Ellie has completed a clean sweep of all titles at the Osijek World Cup, something I believe only one other gymnast has ever managed to achieve at a world cup event. Ellie also was part of the silver medal winning Europeans team, competing on vault and floor only there, she made both finals, and took the silver medal on both pieces, becoming Great Britain’s first European senior medalist on vault.
Ellie will likely be very busy in Rio, she will probably compete AA in qualification and team final, she will look to qualify for the AA, then there is the possibility of vault and floor finals, and even potentially beam.
At present, Ellie’s sister Becky is still the holder of the top AA finish by a British gymnast at an Olympic games, with her 12th place in Beijing. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if her sister overtook her there, and Ellie is very capable of at least a top eight finish. If Ellie has the competition of her life and hits 60 points which she is capable of, she will be in the very tight fight for the bronze medal.
Ellie is particularly strong on vault, where I firmly believe we will see her medal at world/Olympic level at some point in her career. Whether that comes for her this year or not will depend largely on whether she has upgraded her vaults, which she has not as yet. I do believe that she is a strong contender for a place in the final though, and if she does qualify, she will make history once again.
Highest scoring vault so far this year: Euros TF 15.10 (5.8 D, 9.3 E)
On bars which was one of her weaker pieces, Ellie has made huge strides as a senior. She is only second to her sister Becky in the top British scores of 2016, equal with Gabby Jupp. This routine at Osijek is her best so far this year, and as you can see, although excellent, there were a couple of short casts, and a late turn, so potential to go even higher.
UB Osijek 14.750 (6.3 D, 8.375 E)
I mentioned that Ellie could possibly make the beam final, and as I always say, beam is so hard to predict, that anyone that can hit a mid-high fourteen can possibly final and even medal depending on how things go (2015 worlds scores ranged from 14.233 to qualify for the final). This routine is Ellie at her absolute best so far on this piece, a supurb routine, making her the highest beam scorer on the GB team this year. Just the tiny over rotation on the spin away from going over 15.00, which really is a world class score. I’m sure Ellie would absolutely love to hit her routine like this in Rio, and I am sure we are all willing her on to do just that.
BB Osijek 14.950 (6.1 D, 8.85 E)
On floor Ellie is again looking good for a place in the final should she be able to reproduce her best. Most of top scores on floor this year come from American gymnasts, with two per country allowed in finals only, Ellie is very much in the top eight floor performers so far in 2016. Hopefully she will be able to reproduce her form from Europeans below, and there was even room for improvement. Ellie paced 6th on this piece at the world championships, could she equal or better her result in Rio?
FX 14.566 Europeans AF (6.1 D, 8.466 E)
Huge good luck to Ellie, an enormous talent, and a great competitor.