Dec­o­rated Hal­i­fax gym­nast El­lie Black land­ing in elite com­pany with Or­der of Nova Sco­tia in­duc­tion

StarMetro Halifax - - FRONT PAGE - Mitchell Ke­drosky FOR STARMETRO HAL­I­FAX

At 23, she’s the youngest woman to be hon­oured and the sec­ond youngest ever, be­hind ... thes­tar.com

When El­lie Black has the Or­der of Nova Sco­tia medal placed around her neck on Tues­day, she’ll be join­ing very elite com­pany at a stag­ger­ingly young age.

Sid­ney Crosby re­ceived the same award back in 2009 at the age of 21. Black, 23, will be the sec­ond-youngest re­cip­i­ent. She is also at least half the age of most of the dis­tin­guished in­di­vid­u­als in the Or­der.

“It’s very rare to have youth re­cip­i­ents,” said Glen­nie Langille, chief pro­to­col sec­re­tary of the Or­der of Nova Sco­tia. “But you will no­tice that most re­cip­i­ents have ac­com­plished an aw­ful lot. To have that im­pact at a young age is re­ally rare.”

On the sur­face, it might seem like Crosby and Black are very dif­fer­ent ath­letes; one wears skates, the other flips from bars. But when you look closer, you see some sim­i­lar­i­ties.

“They’re both in­cred­i­bly driven, they’re both in­cred­i­bly elo­quent, they’re both re­mark­ably hum­ble. They will not tell you about them­selves at all,” said Bruce Rain­nie, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Nova Sco­tia Sports Hall of Fame and a for­mer Olympic broad­caster with CBC.

“They’re both re­mark­ably gen­er­ous with their time, they both have a love of youth and love to in­spire and serve as role mod­els. If you look at the big­ger pic­ture of both ath­letes, they have quite a lot in com­mon, if you dig a lit­tle deeper.”

It wasn’t purely Black’s suc­cess in gym­na­si­ums that brought her to the at­ten­tion of the Or­der of Nova Sco­tia, Rain­nie said.

It was also “be­ing just an out­stand­ing young cit­i­zen who has never hes­i­tated when asked to give back.” Black reg­u­larly tours the prov­ince, speak­ing in schools about her jour­ney as an ath­lete.

“Un­less she has a con­flict with train­ing or is get­ting ready for a big com­pe­ti­tion, she does ev­ery­thing she can to make sure she can to come share her story with the kids,” said Rain­nie.

Black trains reg­u­larly at Alta Gym­nas­tics in Hal­i­fax and is of­ten seen in the com­mu­nity when she isn’t com­pet­ing around the globe.

“It’s easy for a kid to turn off the TV and be im­pressed by Lebron James, or in the past the likes of a Wayne Gret­zky. That’s easy. But when you see that per­son, maybe El­lie lives down the street, but she comes from (the) same prov­ince as these kids, she’s in­spir­ing.”

When Black first started as a

“TO HAVE THAT IM­PACT AT A YOUNG AGE IS RE­ALLY RARE.” Glen­nie Langille, chief pro­to­col sec­re­tary of the Or­der of Nova Sco­tia

gym­nast, it took years be­fore she won any­thing at all.

“She was not a child prodigy,” said Rain­nie. “Now she’s the great­est Cana­dian gym­nast by a land­slide.”

Black cleaned up at the Paris World Chal­lenge Cup in Septem­ber, bring­ing home four medals. She claimed a sil­ver medal in the all-around com­pe­ti­tion at the 2017 world cham­pi­onships last Oc­to­ber — Canada’s first-ever medal in the all-around at worlds.

Black also won five medals at the Pan Amer­i­can Games in 2015, when the event hap­pened in Toronto. She is also a two-time Olympian, rep­re­sent­ing Canada

in Lon­don (2012) and Rio (2016) and find­ing suc­cess both in­di­vid­u­ally and in team com­pe­ti­tion. If she needed an­other high­light, this year she placed 12th in the Nova Sco­tia Sports Hall of Fame’s list of the top 15 ath­letes from the prov­ince.

“She’s de­fied the sort of nat­u­ral laws of gym­nas­tics in the sense that she’s phys­i­cally big­ger than most gym­nasts, and in terms of age her prime seems to be much later,” Rain­nie said.

“A lot of gym­nasts, at least in re­cent years, seem to hit their peak between the ages of 14 and

18, and here’s El­lie at ages 22 or

23 and she seems to be get­ting bet­ter with time.”

In­ductees at thes­tar.com/hal­i­fax



El­lie Black at the 2018 FIG Artis­tic Gym­nas­tics Cham­pi­onships in Qatar. At 23, she will be­come the sec­ond-youngest per­son ever to re­ceive the Or­der of Nova Sco­tia. The youngest was Sid­ney Crosby, who re­ceived the same award back in 2009 at the age of 21.

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