Canada's women narrowly miss podium at artistic gymnastics worlds
4th-place showing bodes well for Olympic qualifier in 2019; U.S. wins 4th straight title
Ellie Black, Sophie Marois, Brooklyn Moors, Shallon Olsen and Ana Padurariu achieved the best-ever women's result by Canadian team at the artistic gymnastics world championships on Tuesday, finishing fourth in Doha, Qatar.
The United States, led by reigning Olympic champion Simone Biles, won a fourth consecutive world title with a score of 171.629 and automatically qualified for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, as did fellow podium finishers Russia and China - the same top-three finish from the Summer Games two years ago in Rio.
The 8.766 margin of victory is the largest at a major international competition since the U.S.'s streak began in 2011.
The Canadians scored 161.644 over the four apparatus, slightly lower than their 163.987 qualifying mark, but a performance that bodes well for Olympic qualifying at next year's worlds in Stuttgart, Germany.
Watch Ellie Black's routine:
"I'm so proud of the girls today," Black told Gymnastics Canada. "They went out and did their jobs – we had a few mistakes, but there were so many positives, so many good parts of the day. We ended up making history coming fourth as a team in team finals.
"We couldn't be more happy with that. I think we represented Canada just the way we like to - with a smile, and aggression, and never giving up."
Canada coach David Kikuchi agreed with Black, noting mistakes were made, but stressed there were impressive performances.
Simone Biles caps win for U.S.
"It's so encouraging to be up near the podium twice in a row," he said, "and to prove that it wasn't a fluke on day one, and that we are becoming a force to be reckoned with."
Competition continues through Saturday with the team finals, all-around finals and apparatus finals (floor, pommel horse, rings, vault and uneven bars).
Canada's Cournoyer out with injury
The women's individual all-around finals are Thursday and will feature Black and Moors. The apparatus finals are slated for Friday and Saturday. Black and Olsen compete on vault Friday, with Padurariu and Black on beam Saturday along with Moors on floor.
The men's individual all-around finals are scheduled for Wednesday but won't feature Rene Cournoyer of Repentigny, Que., who has withdrawn due to injury.
Meanwhile, a couple of rare missteps by Biles, the reigning Olympic champion, did little to slow the Americans and their 21-year-old star.
Watch the full event:
Biles is dealing with a kidney stone diagnosed last week and is attempting to fight through the pain. She touched the beam after losing her balance following a front flip and landed out of bounds following her first tumbling pass on floor but it hardly mattered.
Biles completed her floor routine before celebrating with teammates Riley McCusker, Kara Eaker, Morgan Hurd, Grace McCallum and Ragan Smith. She competed in all four events during the three-up, three-count final and put up the highest score on vault, uneven bars and floor exercise.
With files from The Associated Press