Gymnast Ellie Downie to miss the Olympics following tragic death of her brother Josh, 24, while elder sister Becky granted extra chance to earn Tokyo place
- Ellie Downie will miss the Olympics following the tragic death of her brother
- Josh, 24, passed away after suffering a heart attack during a cricket nets session
- Older sister Becky will have chance to win selection in a specially-arranged trial
Gymnast Ellie Downie will miss the Olympics following the tragic death of her brother last week.
British Gymnastics announced that the world vault bronze medallist, 21, is ‘taking some time away from the sport to be with her family’ after her 24-year-old sibling Josh passed away from a heart attack playing cricket.
Ellie’s older sister Becky, however, has vowed to carry on and will have the chance to win selection for the Games in a specially-arranged trial.
Ellie Downie (right) will miss the Olympics this summer, while sister Becky (left) has been offered another chance to earn a spot in Tokyo
The Downies missed last weekend’s final Olympic trial in Cardiff after being informed of the news of their brother on the eve of the event.
British Gymnastics were due to select their four-woman team for Tokyo this week but they will now delay naming their squad until the start of June.
The governing body said in a statement: ‘Following the tragic news the Downie family received last week on the eve of the final Olympic trials in Cardiff, we felt it important in such an unprecedented situation to take time to look at how we might be able to grant an extension to the selection window to allow for a further opportunity to complete the trial. In such difficult circumstances we feel strongly that this is the right thing to do.
Becky, 29, confirmed her intentions to continue her Tokyo 2020 bid despite the family tragedy
‘After careful consideration and consultation an offer was extended to put in place a delay to the planned nomination and selection process that was due to commence on May 10 and provide an additional opportunity whereby, we will create an additional ‘event’ – matching as much as possible with the status and regulations of the Cardiff trials – which Becky Downie has chosen to take up as an option.
‘We will now be working with Becky on the scheduling and arrangements for this in due course. Ellie is taking some time away from the sport to be with her family and would appreciate if everyone could respect her privacy during this time.
‘What this means for the overall selection is that there will be a delay to the women’s nomination meeting and following the appeals window we now expect to announce the team early June. The men’s team will continue to be announced at the end of May and our trampoline line up in June.’
Becky won a silver on the uneven bars at the 2019 World Championships and is looking to go to her third Olympics.
The other frontrunners for selection are 16-year-old twins Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, as well as Alice Kinsella, 20, and 17-year-old Amelie Morgan.
Josh Downie, 24, passed away after suffering a heart attack during a cricket nets session