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Canadian Ellie Black sprains ankle, just misses podium at worlds
Ellie Black of Canada wins the gold medal in the vault during artistic gymnastics at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru on Tuesday, July 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, COC, Vincent Ethier
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, October 10, 2019 5:08PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 10, 2019 5:09PM EDT
STUTTGART, Germany - Canada's Ellie Black was diagnosed with a high ankle sprain after narrowly missing the podium in the all-around competition on Thursday at the world gymnastics championships.
The Halifax native had to be helped off the floor after a slightly short landing on the vault, her final discipline.
Black, who elected to try a more difficult vault to try to hit the podium, ended up fourth with 56.232 points Angelina Melnikova of Russia was third on 56.399.
“It was honestly a really good day for me, and I'm really happy with it,” Black said.
“At the end, with the vault, when I landed it, I just felt a little bit of pain in my ankle, but I was really happy because I haven't competed a front Rudi on vault in a really long time. It was just close to the end, so we needed to throw the harder vault just to see, but fourth in the world is still pretty incredible.”
The 24-year-old Black, who won silver in all-around at the 2017 worlds in Montreal to become Canada's first world medallist in the event, is hoping to improve on her fifth-place showing from the 2016 Rio Olympics at next year's Summer Games in Tokyo.
American Simone Biles won her fifth all-around title on Thursday.
The U.S. gymnast scored 58.999 points to finish 2.1 points ahead of China's Tang Xijing.
Brooklyn Moors of Cambridge, Ont., was 14th.
Biles' margin of victory was her biggest at a world all-around event, and matched her winning margin at the 2016 Olympics, before she took a year off.
She finished her floor routine with a mic-drop gesture.
“It wasn't my best routine but we just thought it would be fun,” she said. “I feel like right now actually I'm pretty confident in my gymnastics and myself and the performances I put out there, so I feel like I'm probably more confident going in today than I was at the Olympics.”
No other woman has won more than three all-around titles. Biles' victory makes it seven wins in a row for the United States in the women's all-around, matching the Soviet Union's record streak at world championships in the 1970s and 1980s.
Tang wasn't even meant to be competing Thursday but became China's first all-around medallist in eight years. She'd qualified third-best of China's gymnasts, with only two per country allowed in the final. However, Tang was drafted in to replace teammate Liu Tingting, who fell on two routines in Tuesday's team final.
Tang said she didn't know she was contending for a medal until after finishing her final routine.
“I hoped to do what I'm like in training, and didn't really think too much about the results,” she said through a translator. “I didn't even watch the results myself, so it was really surprising.”
Biles' U.S. teammate Sunisa Lee placed second in qualifying, but her hopes of a medal were dashed when she came off the uneven bars. She finished eighth.
“I feel like I kind of let the nerves get to me a little bit, but it's all part of the learning experience,” Lee said. “There's going to be a lot more meets to come before the Olympics, so hopefully I can kind of get myself back together for that.”
France's Melanie de Jesus dos Santos had qualified third-best but fell twice on uneven bars and placed 20th.
Biles has won the all-around title at every world championships she's competed in, starting in 2013. She skipped the 2017 season, when Morgan Hurd won the gold.
In a sign of the U.S. team's depth, Hurd wasn't named to the team for this year's worlds despite also winning bronze last year.
With files from The Associated Press.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 10, 2019.