Ellie Downie was left ‘ecstatic’ after she surfed a wave of adrenaline all the way to a stunning silver medal in the all-around competition at the European Artistic Gymnastics Championships.
The 19-year-old was faultless across the four pieces of apparatus in Poland, denied gold only by an outstanding floor routine from French gymnast Melanie de Jesus dos Santos.
And while Downie couldn’t quite repeat the feat of two years ago and retain the all-around title she won in Romania, she was nevertheless delighted by the silverware.
“I’m absolutely ecstatic,” she said.
“Coming in yesterday I honestly didn’t think that I’d get that. I know it was so close to first, but to be honest it means just the same so I’m happy.
“I was so annoyed from not making the floor final (on Thursday) that I just put everything into today.
“I just felt like I had nothing to lose. Obviously, coming in as reigning champion isn’t easy, but to come second and so close – I’m over the moon.
“I was trying to hold my breath and just trying to nail those landings, because my last tumble went a bit wrong in qualifying. As soon as I nailed that last tumble I was just ecstatic!”
The Nottingham native got the ideal start to the competition with a 14.500 on the vault, before following that up with a 14.066 on the bars to sit second at the halfway stage behind Olympic silver medallist Angelina Melnikova.
It was on the beam, however, where Downie hit the front of the field, nailing a difficult routine to score 13.333, laying down the gauntlet for Dos Santos and co.
The Brit was first to go on the floor as she looked to ram home her advantage, and a stellar routine earned her 13.466 to set a lofty target for her French competitor.
But Dos Santos delivered to catapult her to the top of the podium with an overall score of 55.433, just 0.068 ahead of Downie.
Melnikova completed the podium, while Alice Kinsella finished 15th after falling from the beams during a new routine.
Earlier in the day, Joe Fraser narrowly missed out on a medal in the men’s all-around in fourth, while James Hall came seventh.
Competition continues on Saturday, with Max Whitlock set to compete in the pommel horse.