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Black is back and finishes fifth at 2020 American Cup; Cournoyer 10th

Black, who injured her ankle on her final vault at the 2019 World Championships in Stuttgart, GER, last October, returned to competition last month at the Elite Canada competition in Calgary, AB but only competed on beam and bars. She competed all four apparatus in Milwaukee, after only finding out she was competing at the competition last week, to score a total of 53.299. 

“My mindset coming into this competition was to take it one step at a time. To use it as a stepping-stone to get back to full strength and routines,” said Black following the competition. “I wasn’t expecting to be perfect, but I wanted to try to continue to work on some improvements and get back out competing on all four events. I wanted to be positive and confident and to go out there for my team, and I feel that I achieved that.”

Morgan Hurd of the USA claimed her second American Cup title, taking gold with a score of 55.832. Her teammate Kayla DiCello took silver with a score of 55.132, while Hitomi Hatakeda of Japan took bronze with a score of 53.799.

Black had her top result on bars, scoring a 13.800 for the third highest score of the day on that apparatus, but that score wasn’t the highlight of the meet for her: “The highlight of the meet was landing my vault on my feet and getting through my floor routine! I haven’t had much preparation on those events so I was happy with just getting out there again and for my ankle to handle it all well.”

Black scored 45 points towards Olympic qualification with her fifth place. Canada now sits in fourth overall on those rankings; the top-3 countries after the four World Cups this spring will earn an additional Olympic spot for their country.

Cournoyer, who secured his Tokyo 2020 Olympic spot at the World Championships last fall, had his top result of the day on vault, scoring a 14.033 to rank fifth on that apparatus. He finished the day with a total score of 78.298 and scored 20 points towards Olympic qualification for Canada to sit 9th in those rankings on the men’s side.

“All things considered, I am very happy with how today went,” said Cournoyer who debuted a brand-new parallel bars routine at the competition. “It was far from perfect – somethings went way better than expected and some didn’t, but it’s a promising start for the rest of the season.”

Sam Mikulak of the USA thrilled his home country crowd to take the gold medal with a total score of 85.332, while Oleg Verniaiev of Ukraine, silver medallist in the all-around at the 2016 Olympic Games, took silver with a total score of 83.064. James Hall of Great Britain rounded out the podium, capturing bronze with a total score of 82.999.

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