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Ellie Downie

After winning the gold medal at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championship held in Romania, Ellie Downie is the first British gymnast in history to achieve the title of European all-around champion. Although she was trailing Hungarian artistic gymnast Zsofia Kovacs for much of the competition, Ellie made a dramatic victory after surging ahead with her final floor routine.

Ellie Downie Nadia Comaneci

Romanian gymnastics legend Nadia Comaneci - winner of the title three years in a row from 1975 to 1977 - praised Ellie's performance, hailing her as a "very strong athlete with impressive physicality".

It was another step up the international ladder for Ellie, who had won the European all-round bronze at the age of just 15 in France in 2015. She managed to achieve the victory when she had also been busy studying for her GCSEs, which she passed - an amazing feat in itself, considering her gymnastic commitments.

The modest youngster, who has just turned 18, said after her recent gold medal win that she hadn't expected to be European champion and would have been happy with any medal, so winning the gold was "amazing".

Born in July 1999, the Nottingham teenager started learning gymnastics at the age of just three. Her older sister, Becky, who is seven years Ellie's senior, is also a gymnast and the siblings call themselves the 'Doubledownies'.

Their proud mum, Helen, a child health worker, used to take Becky to the gym and enrolled Ellie in pre-school gymnastics classes to pass the time while waiting for Becky. As a child, Ellie showed no fear of the apparatus and was soon doing daredevil stunts. Her best apparatus are the vault and floor, while her beam and bars have also begun to excel in recent years.

In 2010, she was the British compulsory Level 2 silver medallist and the British voluntary Level 2 overall champion. She enjoyed her first major success by winning six gold medals at the 2012 School Games. In 2013, she competed in the Woga Classic, winning the team bronze and the vault silver medals.

By the age of 16, Ellie had competed in many junior championships as part of Team GB including EYOF, Arques, the Europeans and the Youth Olympic Games, where she won four medals in Nanjing, China. At the Rio Olympics in 2016, Ellie finished 13th in the all-round final. Unfortunately, during her floor routine she suffered a fall. Landing on her head and neck, she was left feeling dizzy and had to leave the arena to be checked out by the medical team, ruling her out of being a medal winner. Becky was also part of Team GB but her performance didn't go to plan as a result of a fall on the beam.

Ellie's ambition now is to compete for Team GB again at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan and for England at the Commonwealth Games. Mum says she has no idea where the sisters get their incredible talent, as she isn't sporty at all, although their father used to play football. She puts their success down to their drive and determination.

Ellie Downie 2020 Olympics

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