8 May 2017

Ellie Downie (GBR): Looking back on Cluj

Returning home with no fewer than 4 medals, achieved after hitting 14 exercises and participating in all 5 finals, what a week Ellie Downie had in Cluj!

Ellie Downie
Volker Minkus / UEG

In qualifications, Ellie scored a massive 56.198 to easily top the all-around standing. In addition to this, she also qualified to all 4 event finals, a feat never before achieved by a British gymnast! 

I definitely exceeded my expectations today! It was one of my best qualifying performances across all pieces so I’m really happy. Floor was definitely the stand-out apparatus for me today, my new routine seems to get a lot of attention and when the music kicks in it gets the crowd going. I feel like I’m pretty much up there with Europe and World now. I always feel like I don’t know how good I am until I look up and see my score, it’s always a real surprise for me”, the 17-year-old from Nottingham said.

One day later, she entered the Polyvalent Hall as the favourite. But the entire competition she was trailing Hungarian Zsofia Kovacs. “That was quite a hard competition throughout. I was always second, there was a fight, I knew it before the floor and knowing my qualifications were better than that I just wanted to give my best and trusted the best I could.”

Last up on floor, Downie delivered an excellent routine to clinch the gold medal with 55.765, the first ever British gymnast to take all-around gold in any major international championships: “I can hardly speak; I don’t even know how to start to describe how happy I am. It was the hardest competition I’ve ever done, after qualifying yesterday to pull it together and put in another four routines isn’t easy. My beam was a bit shaky and that got me worried, I didn’t watch anyone else’s floor routines I was just in my own world. Then once I got on the floor I just went for it, it wasn’t perfect so I was really nervous looking at the scores at the end. When my name came up in gold I just broke down crying. As soon as I walked out of the arena Becky ran and hugged me and she had my family back home on the phone, I couldn’t say a word I was crying so much.”

On day 1 of event finals, Downie added two more medals to her collection, a silver on vault and a bronze on bars, tied with Germany’s Eli Seitz. 

“I was really happy with the vault silver. After such a crazy night (after winning all-around gold) last night it was hard to get any proper rest so I wasn’t expecting big things today. Both my vaults could have been better so to take the silver is amazing. Bars was a totally different story. Going up second I expected everyone to then overtake me but that didn’t happen. It’s really hard to be happy after seeing my sister Becky fall and get injured, it’s definitely mixed emotions with that and winning bronze. Becky is such a hard worker and such a fighter and I know she’ll come back stronger. I’ve now got the complete set of medals and two more finals to come tomorrow, it’s ridiculous!”

2 more medal chances were on offer on the second day of event finals. On beam she had some hesitations and ended fourth. On floor the audience got fully behind her, cheering her to the second place, medal number four in the pocket. “The crowd and the adrenaline made me ready to go full in today, after a full week. I was pretty tired after the all-around competition, but yesterday I picked myself up and today I wanted to do the same. And I think I just did that: I’m pleased with my performance today.” 

After all the medals and the excitement, Downie confessed to the press: “I’m knackered”!