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Ellie Downie takes European gymnastics all-around bronze
Ellie Downie has made British gymnastics history by winning Britain’s first ever women’s all-around medal in a European Championships after taking junior bronze in Sofia, teammate Catherine Lyons placing in 4th just 0.101 marks behind Ellie.
Both British girls produced incredible performances across all four pieces of apparatus to continue a sensational week for the British junior girls having already claimed a historic team silver on Tuesday.
Ellie finished with a total of 55.332 points with Catherine scoring 55.231, Melnikova of Russia taking the gold with a stunning performance to score 57.107.
Ellie's competition was defined by powerful and highly difficult work whilst Catherine brought artistry and flair to the arena. Ellie produced the best vault of the event and was consistent across all the pieces whilst Catherine shone on floor posting the best total on that apparatus.
The girls showed superb composure and determination throughout the final with the only disappointment being that both couldn’t stand on the medal podium.
Ellie was greeted by tearful older sister Becky Downie – who competes in Saturday’s senior team final - following the competition, Ellie summed up her achievements saying:
“It feels incredible. It went right down to the last routine between me and Catherine we were so close. To hear that I’ve made history today is amazing.
Having Becky and my family in the crowd and all the other British fans really pushed me on. Coming in to the final I knew that if I competed cleanly I would be in with a chance and I managed to stay calm and focus on my job. The juniors and senior have had an amazing championships so far and we still have more to come. For the vault final on Sunday I think I have a chance of doing well and the bars we’ll see what happens, at the moment I’m just taking it all in.”
Catherine said after "I would be lying if I said I wasn't gutted as 4th is the hardest position to come but I am so proud of Ellie. I couldn't have done any more. It’s been a great week and I have Sunday’s beam and floor apparatus finals to look forward too, I’ve posted the highest score today on floor so hopefully if I can repeat that I’ll be in with a chance of a medal”
Ellie Downie started on vault, one of her strongest pieces of apparatus on which she topped the qualification standings and she proved herself again, great power and technique for her Yurchenko double-twist scoring her 14.8. There was more brilliant work from Ellie on bars where she produced huge skills and amazing strength, fighting well to hold her handstand mid routine, ending with a great dismount to score 13.366.
On beam Ellie showed real composure, any sign of a wobble was quickly rectified as she fought to continue her great competition, she dismounted well to score her 13.333. Finishing on floor she was exceptional under pressure, huge tumbling, full of confidence and power scoring her 13.833
Like Ellie, Catherine started on her favourite apparatus, floor. Her performance stunned the crowd with her artistic flair standing out alongside well controlled tumbles to score her a mighty 14.033. On vault Catherine continued to show great technique with a neat nicely executed pass scoring her 13.766.
On bars she was very tidy and precise, ensuring no costly mistakes; she dismounted beautifully to score 13.266. Ending on beam Catherine was elegant and exact, a step forward on landing her only tiny error as she scored a superb 14.166.
The championships continue on Saturday 17th with the senior team final