Past Olympians Series – Ellie Downie: Courage


With the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games being postponed to 2021, we thought we could talk about some previous Olympians and how they embody certain Olympic values. This fifth post of seven, features Ellie Downie and how she demonstrated courage in the face of adversity.

Ellie Downie

Sport: Artistic gymnastics

Hometown: Nottingham, England

Ellie Downie is a British artistic gymnast with a whole lot of skill and potential. The younger sister of Becky Downie (another elite British gymnast), Ellie first came into the public eye at the 2014 European Championships in Bulgaria. Though only 15 at the time, her incredible talent earned her one gold medal (on vault) a silver medal (as part of the British team) and a bronze medal (in the all-around). This outstanding performance landed her a spot at the 2014 Summer Junior Olympics in Nanjing, China, where she went on to win four more medals (silver on vault and bronze medals in the all-around, floor exercise and balance beam).

Since then, Downie has competed (and placed) at the 2015 and 2019 World Championships, as well as the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 European Championships. In 2017 she made history with her gold-medal performance at the European Championships, becoming the first British gymnast to win the all-around at a major international event.

With a career like that, you may be wondering where Downie was at the 2016 Summer Olympics. During qualifications, she had a shocking accident and fell on her head during a tumbling pass. She was unable to finish her routine, but quickly rallied and returned, with great courage, to perform two vaults. She qualified for the all-around final in 20th place and finished up in 13th.

Downie’s courage was key in helping her to overcome her accident and get back into training

Disappointing though this must have been, Downie didn’t let it stop her and she quickly recovered and threw herself back into training. The next year, she went on to win the gold medal at the European Championships and, in 2019, won two more medals at the same event – a silver and a bronze. In 2019 she also won her first independent World Championships medal; a bronze awarded for her exceptional performance on vault.

Downie’s courage and commitment to gymnastics have won her a second chance at Olympic success, and we can expect to see her compete in multiple events at the 2020 Summer Olympics.

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