Canada’s Ellie Black finishes fourth at gymnastics worlds

Ellie Black. (Mark Blinch/AP)

MONTREAL — There was no dishonour for Canada’s Ellie Black in finishing fourth among a star-studded entry list at the World Gymnastics Championships on Saturday afternoon.

Only hours after taking the silver medal in the all-around competition on Firday night, Black finished just out of the medals on the vault, her first individual apparatus event, despite a wall of supporting noise from the sellout crowd of about 11,000 in a section of Olympic Stadium closed off for the competition.

Shallon Olsen of Vancouver was seventh.

Maria Paseka of Russia defended her 2015 world championship vault gold medal ahead of Jade Carey of the United States and bronze medallist Giulia Steingruber of Switzerland.

"It’s hard coming off all around and jumping into vault finals the next morning, but I rested as much as I could and came in with a strong attitude," said Black, who is from Halifax. "This is a very tough vault final.

"Just to be part of it is amazing. They’re amazing athletes. Competing with Oksana (Chusovitina) is incredible in it’s own. She’s such a legend. So that was petty cool."

At 42, Chusovitina is 20 years older than Black, who was the next-oldest gymnast in the eight-woman final. The Uzbek veteran has competed at seven Olympics for three countries since her first in 1992 for the United Team, which was made up mainly of countries that had been part of the former Soviet Union.

Black put in two mostly clean vaults, but it wasn’t enough to threaten the top three.

"That’s the sport — you have to be happy with what you put out there and you leave the rest to the other competitors and the judges," said Black. "I was happy with how it went."

Olsen, 17, stumbled on the landing of her first vault, but stuck her second one nicely. That put her one spot better than her eighth-place finish at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"Obviously a bit disappointed that I didn’t land my first vault the way I wanted, but just to be out here with a home crowd representing Canada is an awesome feeling," said Olsen. "To know that the whole crowd was behind me was great.

"I gave that vault my all but even if it didn’t go the way I wanted I still have my future to look forward to."

The U.S. team is missing Simone Biles, the star of the Rio Games who opted to sit out this year’s competitions, but showed it has plenty of depth with Carey’s silver medal.

"I definitely wouldn’t have thought a year ago that I would be here today, but it just feels really great," said 17-year-old Carey, the U.S. vault champion.

Black and Olsen were the only Canadians in action Saturday. On Sunday, Black will compete in floor exercise and balance beam finals, while Brooklyn Moors of Cambridge, Ont., is also on the floor.

In other finals, Kenzo Shirai of Japan, a gold medallist in the team event in Rio, won the men’s floor exercises by more than a full point ahead of Artem Dolgopyat of Israel. American Yul Moldauer was third.

Max Whitlock of Britain won the pommel horse ahead of Russian David Belyavskiy and men’s all around champion Xiao Ruoteng of China.

In women’s uneven bars, Fan Yilin won gold with Elena Eremina second and Nina Derwael of Belgium third.

In men’s rings, Olympic champion Eleftherios Petrounias of Greece proved a crowd-pleaser by spreading his fingers while holding a horizontal pose rather than gripping with his fists. It didn’t count toward his score, but Petrounias still won gold ahead of Denis Abliazin of Russia and Liu Yang of China.