15 year old Ellie Downie made history in Montpellier becoming the first British woman to win a major championships all-around medal by taking the bronze at the 2015 European Championships.
Ellie showed superb form throughout the final, her powerful style of gymnastics complimented by great skill and precision as she cleanly navigated the four apparatus to reach a score of 56.623 and the bronze behind gold medallist Steingruber (SUI) and Kharenkova (RUS). Claudia Fragapane joined Ellie in the final and also showed exceptional form to place in sixth for Great Britain.
Overcome with emotion on the announcement of the final placing’s Ellie rushed to older sister and teammate Becky for a tearful celebration. Ellie summed up her performance and result saying “It’s ridiculous! I can’t believe what’s just happened. Coming in to the championships I was maybe hoping for top ten as it’s my first senior event and to win a medal is incredible. I’ve never felt so nervous going to vault - the final piece - even though it’s my strongest apparatus. I knew I was right up there in with a chance of a medal so to then land that safely was a huge relief, I just burst into tears.”
Claudia was also happy with her superb sixth place saying “I’m really happy with the final placing. Having fallen on bars in qualification I adjusted that routine and was really happy to go through clean, on beam I had problem but floor and vault I could really express myself. I’m so happy for Ellie, she a great friend and she was amazing today.”
Ellie showed superb determination and strength on bars to begin her campaign. She fought to keep momentum early on and then unleash some spectacular skills releasing the bar and dismounted in style for 14.233. Her beam routine also stood up to pressure, exact landings on her acrobatic skills along the beam and a near perfect twisting dismount giving her a strong score of 13.89 and placing her fourth at the halfway mark.
Ellie’s tumbling on the floor was highly impressive, powerful and difficult she combined a variety of skills in her passes and landed well with just a tiny step out on her second pass scoring 13.666 points. Finally on to vault, Ellie’s strongest apparatus, where she knew a good performance would take her to the medals. She produced a trademark double-twisting yurchenko scoring 14.833 to give her a total of 56.623 and the bronze medal.
Claudia had fallen on bars in qualification but showed no signs of concern in her finals routine, she easily navigated her release and catch skill and was controlled throughout to give her a positive start and a score of13.400, over a mark higher than in qualifying. She had troubles throughout her beam routine fighting to keep her landings and fell on her side somersault move, jumping back on to dismount and score 12.433.
On floor Claudia was able to unleash her energy and she powered though her huge tumbling skills, the crowd giving her plenty of support as she perfectly landed her final double layout and finished with some breakdance style moves to applause and 14.533 points. Ending on vault Claudia powered down the runway double-twisting her way to a score of 14.533 and an all-around total of 54.899 for sixth place.
The championships continue on Saturday with the first of the apparatus finals with Kristian Thomas competing on floor, Louis Smith on pommel, Courtney Tulloch on rings, Claudia Fragapane and Ellie Downie up on vault and Becky and Ellie Downie on bars.
Find the full results here.