Proud debut for O'Reilly & Ireland on the Olympic stage
7th August 2016, 00:00a.m. | International
Updated Monday August 8th @15.30
Ellis O’ Reilly took to the floor today at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena and performed well in front of the capacity audience in attendance. Ellis began on floor, before moving through to vault which she executed very well. From there she moved onto the uneven bars hitting a clean routine before finishing on beam where she had an unfortunate error on dismount causing a fall right at the end of her routine for which she has since received full medical attention and been given the all clear.
Her appearance today means that she becomes the first ever Irish female gymnast to compete at an Olympic Games and marks an important moment for Gymnastics Ireland as it will help inspire the next generation of young female Irish gymnasts.
Speaking after her performance, Ellis had this to say: 'Today's competition started off well, hitting all my routines until I got to the last skill of the day where I missed my foot off the beam.' 'I have not injured myself just mainly disappointed as I have performed that dismount perfectly hundreds of times. I can walk away from this experience proud of how far I've come. Now I can say I'm an Olympian and that I've made history by becoming the first ever female gymnast to compete for Ireland. I would just like to thank everyone for all their kind messages and support.'
Speaking on Monday, Ellis's coach, Samantha James reflected on the performance: 'So yesterday didn't have the ending that both myself and Ellis had intended on but I can honestly say I could not be prouder of her. She showed true fight, professionalism and bravery out there. She handled her nerves and excitement better than ever before up on that huge stage at her biggest ever competition. She is now an Olympian and for me to be able to say I am a coach to an Olympic Athlete just blows me away and makes me smile from ear to ear. Our 9 year coach-gymnast relationship, all the hard work, tears, happiness, ups and downs was all made worthwhile when I got to stand out there in the competition arena with her yesterday. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity and hope we did people back home proud. Thank you to everyone for your amazing support especially my wonderful team at Europa Centre, all those at Gymnastics Ireland and Renmore Gym Club and to all my close friends and family.'
Gymnastics Ireland Performance & Technical Manager Sally Filmer said: 'Ellis has done extremely well representing Ireland as our first female gymnast having gone through a tough qualification route with the World Championships in 2015 and our own Gymnastics Ireland selection process to finally gain the Olympic spot at the Test Event in April. We are very proud of her achievement and thank Ellis and her coach Samantha For the hard work in getting here'.
Gymnastics Ireland CEO Ciaran Gallagher added: 'Ellis has shown our next generation of young Irish female gymnasts that getting to an Olympic Games is possible just as Kieran Behan did in 2012. The hard work and dedication has paid off for Ellis and her coach Samantha James and for this I thank them in addition to recognising the excellent strategic development led by our Performance & Technical Manager Sally Filmer in hitting this historic milestone. The future of our sport in Ireland for the next Olympic cycle is very exciting.'