Rio 2016 Profile: Ireland's first female Olympic gymnast, Ellis O'Reilly

4th August 2016, 00:00a.m. | International

Ellis is an 18-year-old Irish gymnast who was born in Kent, England and competes for Ireland through her grandfather, who hailed from Armagh. She is currently studying for her A-levels and is aiming at earning a place in university to study physical education. Taking up the sport of Gymnastics at age 6, Ellis now trains for 4 hours a day, 6 days a week out of the Europa Gymnastics Club under the tutelage of her coach, Samantha James. Ellis also competes for Renmore Gymnastics Club here in Ireland.


Ellis has a number of national titles to her name and was the 2014 & 2015 All Around Irish Champion. She made her International senior debut in Sofia, Bulgaria in 2014 at the European Championships. Since then Ellis has attended two World Championships (China in 2014 and in Glasgow in 2015). Another European Championships in Monpellier in 2015 and she competed at the inaugural Baku Games in 2015. At the Northern Europeans in Limerick in 2015, O’Reilly claimed a number of silver medals including Individual All Around and with the Irish Team.

Road to Rio

At the World Championships in Glasgow in October 2015, Ellis secured Ireland their first ever place for an Irish female gymnast at an Olympic test event. In March 2016, she was selected as the gymnast to take that place and go forward to compete for a place at the Rio Olympics 2016. In April 2016, Ellis took part in the Aquece Rio Final Gymnastics Qualifier, the final qualifier for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. After a strong performance all around, she successfully qualified to compete in the Rio Summer Olympics in August 2016. In doing so, she became the first ever Irish female gymnast to qualify for an Olympic Games.


At the Rio Olympics, Ellis will compete in Sub Division 1 on the 7th of August between 09.45am – 11.15am. If a female gymnast performs well she'll compete again on all 4 apparatus on August 11th between 16.00-18.00 (the All-Around Final). If a female gymnast performs well on one particular apparatus she'll compete again on either August 14th, 15th, 16th depending on which apparatus final she qualifies for (the Apparatus Finals). 

Ahead of her podium training session Ellis spoke to the RTE media, “It’s great to have all the support from Gymnastics Ireland (sports federation) and all the fans at home,” she said. “It motivates me to do the best I can. I’m looking to have a clean competition and score around 50 to 51 points,” she said. “That would be a great achievement.”

And the teenager believes a solid performance on beam will be key to achieving her ambitious all-around score. “If I manage to stay focused and stay on the beam then I should be able to get a great score.” *

We look forward to seeing Ellis’s performance on Sunday in Rio and we wish her the very best in her efforts for Ireland.

All times stated are local times in Rio. Ireland is 4 hours ahead of Rio.

*Credit to ONS for quotes.

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