Ernestine Russell

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Ernestine Jean Russell (born June 10, 1938), later known by her married names Ernestine Carter and Ernestine Weaver, is a Canadian former gymnast and American former college gymnastics coach. She represented Canada in the 1956 and 1960 Summer Olympics.[1] Although Russell won no medals in her two summer Olympic appearances, she is regarded as Canada's first notable female Olympic gymnast.

History[edit]

Ernestine "Ernie" Russell was in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She learned ballet early on from her mother who taught dance training as an instructor at the British Royal Academy. As her training progressed, it became apparent that she lacked the body to become a ballerina.

Bernie Newman, a former member of Provincial Parliament and the Russells' neighbor, had formed a Vocational Boy’s Gymnastics team, and suggested to Russell that she try the trampoline. Ernie was quoted as saying “I got on, and I never got off”.

Russell would compete for the first time when she was 13 and won 9 Canadian Championships. Newman would be a leading force that would encourage her throughout the years hoping that he would one day see her, alongside her male partner Ed Gagnier, in the Olympic Games.

In 1956, Russel, at age 17, was allowed to compete in her first Olympic competition in Melbourne, Australia. Although her routine was ill-prepared, she performed exceptionally in her routines which included the floor exercise, the balance beam and the vault. She finished less than a point behind the gold-medal winner but won no medal herself.

After Russell graduated from Kennedy High School in 1956 she continued to pursue her focus in gymnastics. In 1959 she won 5 gold medals for Canada in the Pan-Am Games.[2] In 1960, she was again invited to participate in an Olympic competition, this time in Rome. As in Melbourne, Russell fell shy of a medal.[3]

Russell was awarded the Velma Springstead Trophy a record three times during the years 1955-57, as being the country’s female athlete of the year.[4]

Accomplishments[edit]

In the third Pan-American Games that took place in Chicago in 1959, Russell earned a first-place medal which made her the first Canadian medal winner in an international gymnastics competition.[5]

After her Olympic experiences, Russell went on to earn a degree in physical education and dance from Michigan State University. She taught high school for five years. Russell was also head coach for 13 years at the University of Florida, and prior to that she held a coaching position at Clarion State for 10 years.

She made a large impact upon joining the Florida Gators women's gymnastics team at the University of Florida, which, with her as head coach, earned one AIAW national championship and eleven consecutive NCAA championship tournament appearances. Her teams compiled a combined record of 243-48 during her 23-year career as head coach. Russell was also named Coach of the Year in 1982, when Florida won the AIAW gymnastics championship. Florida also won five SEC titles, and in 1989 and 1992 Russell was named SEC Coach of the Year.[6]

Olympic results[edit]

Games Age City Sport Event Team Finish
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Women's Floor Exercise Canada 20T
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Women's Horse Vault Canada 45
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Women's Uneven Bars Canada 61
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Women's Balance Beam Canada 61
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around Canada 56
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Women's Floor Exercise Canada 86 QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Women's Horse Vault Canada 75 QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Women's Uneven Bars Canada 76 QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Women's Balance Beam Canada 68 T QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Women's Individual All-Around Canada 76
Women's Floor Exercise
Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Finish Points
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 20T 18.200
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 86QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Qualifying 86 17.433
Women's Horse Vault
Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Finish Points
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 45 17.833
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 75 QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Qualifying 75 17.00
Women's Uneven Bars
Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Finish Points
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 61 16.133
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 76 QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Qualifying 76 17.466
Women's Balance Beam
Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Finish Points
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 61 15.766
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 68T QR
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Qualifying 68T 17.033
Women's Individual All-Around
Games Age City Sport Country Phase Unit Finish Points
1956 18 Melbourne Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 56 67.933
1960 21 Rome Gymnastics Canada Final Standing 76 68.932

[7]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gjerde, Arild. Sports References/Olympic Sports. 2000-2009. http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ru/ernestine-russell-carter-1.html.
  2. ^ http://www.usghof.org/files/bio/e_russell/e_russell.html
  3. ^ Divinich, Shelley. "Ernestine Russel Canada's First Female Olympic Gymnast." Best of Times Magazine, 2006: 308.
  4. ^ McDonald, David. "For the Record: Canada's Greatest Women Athletes." The Golden Age of Women and Sports in Canada, March 1981: 13-15
  5. ^ LETHEREN, CAROL ANNE. The Canadian Encyclopedia. http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=A1ARTA0003510.
  6. ^ Sports, CBS College. Utah State Athletes. 2009. http://utahstateaggies.cstv.com/sports/w-gym/mtt/russell_ernestine00.html.
  7. ^ Gjerde, Arild. Sports References/Olympic Sports. 2000-2009. http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ru/ernestine-russell-carter-1.html.