‘DoubleDownies’ are Rio-bound

The Downie sisters will head to Rio to compete at the Olympics
The Downie sisters will head to Rio to compete at the Olympics

Hucknall sisters Becky and Ellie Downie have been named in Great Britain’s five-strong woman’s artistic gymnastics team for the Rio Olympics.

The pair will travel to Brazil at the end of July to compete in the Games which will begin on August 5, and are the first sisters to ever be picked to compete for Team GB in gymnastics.

It will be the second time 24-year-old Becky has competed at the Olympics having also taken part in Beijing in 2008, where she helped Great Britain to a ninth-place finish.

For Ellie, who turns 17 next week, this will be her first Olympics. She will take her place alongside her sister as well as Amy Tinkler, Commonwealth champion Claudia Fragapane and Ruby Harrold in Rio.

Just last week, the Downie sisters, along with Harrold, Fragapane and Gabby Jupp, earned GB a silver medal in Bern, Switzerland at the European Championships. At the same event, Becky became European bars champion and Ellie took silver medals in the vault and floor exercise.

That added to the individual honours the pair gained at the British Championships in April, where Ellie took gold in the vault and Becky gold in the beam. Last year they were bronze medalists in the World Championships in Glasgow.

Following the call-up, Becky said: “I’m really, really excited and pleased to be selected.

“I can’t wait to get out there now; all of the team have worked so hard and are so excited.

“For me personally it was a big decision to carry on for this Olympic cycle but I knew I had more to give and feel like I’ve proved that.

“Being part of Team GB is amazing, we’re so excited to get our kit, to be in Rio, to see all the other athletes and to be on that Olympic stage.”

Ellie tweeted: “I can’t thank my friends, family and coaches enough for all the support you have given me, especially Jo Miller and my mum Helen.”

Women’s head national coach Amanda Reddin said: “We have selected a team of gymnasts who have experience at the very top level.

“All of the team members were part of our line-up that made history by taking World Championship team bronze in 2015 and we have continued with further successes at this year’s European Championships.

“So we go into the Games full of confidence. The priority now is to fine tune the routines in the next four weeks as we build up to Rio.”

The gymnastics events begin on August 6 with the men’s team in qualifying action and end on the 16th with the men’s parallel bars and horizontal bars finals and the women’s floor final.

There are medals on offer for both individuals and teams in artistic gymnastics where all gymnasts compete in the qualification and there are competitions for individuals in the trampoline events.”

Team GB picked up four gymnastics medals at the London Olympics in 2012.