Sports·THE BUZZER

Can Canada's Ellie Black pull off another gymnastics surprise?

CBC Sports daily newsletter looks at Ellie Black's chances of winning another medal at the world championships after leading Canada to a stunning team bronze.

Individual finals on tap after Canada's stunning team bronze at worlds

Ellie Black will try for an individual medal at the gymnastics world championships in England after helping Canada win an historic bronze in the women's team event. (Paul Ellis/AFP via Getty Images)

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Yesterday in Liverpool, England, five Canadian women made history by winning their country's first-ever medal in a team competition at the gymnastics world championships. The surprising bronze by Ellie Black, Laurie Denommee, Denelle Pedrick, Emma Spence and Sydney Turner also earned Canada a spot in the women's team event at the 2024 Olympics.

The Canadians surely benefitted from the absence of reigning Olympic champion Russia, whose athletes are banned from international gymnastics because of the invasion of Ukraine. But they deserve full marks for climbing onto the world-championship podium after Canada failed to reach the team final at last year's Olympics and then squeaked into this one as the eighth and final qualifier. The bronze is Canada's first medal of any kind at the gymnastics worlds (held annually, except for Olympic years) since Shallon Olsen and Ana Padurariu won individual silvers in 2018.

Could any more medals be in store for Canada before the meet closes on Sunday? It's all up to Black, the only Canadian to qualify for any of the remaining finals. Along with the women's all-around final on Thursday, the 27-year-old from Halifax earned a spot in two of the four women's apparatus finals: Saturday's vault and Sunday's balance beam.

WATCH | Ellie Black's beam routine secures historic bronze for Canada:

Ellie Black secures historic team medal for Canada at world gymnastics championships

1 month ago
Duration 3:43
Ellie Black's beam routine secured Canada's bronze medal, their first ever world medal in the team event, and a berth in that event at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Though Black's qualifying results didn't bode all that well for her podium chances (she ranked 11th in the all-around, sixth in the vault and eighth in the beam), don't count out the most successful women's gymnast in Canadian history. Black took silver in the all-around at the 2017 world championships in Montreal — making her the only Canadian to medal in an all-around event at worlds — and placed fourth in 2019. She also won all-around titles at the Commonwealth Games and the Pan Am Games (twice) and placed fifth at the 2016 Olympics. In Tokyo last year, Black withdrew from the Olympic all-around final after aggravating an ankle injury during training. But she returned a few days later for the balance beam final and produced a gutsy fourth-place finish.

Black's beam game looks strong right now too, as her solid routine in the pressure-packed final rotation of yesterday's team final secured Canada the bronze. In the individual beam final, Black won't have to face American superstar Simone Biles, who beat her out for the bronze medal at last year's Olympics. Biles is on an indefinite break from the sport after her mental struggles in Tokyo. Also absent is Olympic all-around gold medallist Suni Lee of the U.S, who's taking the year off from elite competition.

Thursday's women's all-around final starts at 2:45 p.m. ET. Watch it live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem.

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