Growing up in a large family of water sports competitors, Louise Ellery wanted to set herself apart. Her two brothers and sister have competed at national levels in swimming and water polo, but Louise made her mark on land as a dancer and basketball player.
A car accident in 1998 left Louise in a vegetative state after being in a coma for five months. Defying all odds, after not being ‘able’ enough to complete rehabilitation, she started athletics for some fresh air and a new challenge. She soon found an affinity with shot put and has now competed at four Paralympic Games.
First representing Australia at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Louise went on to achieve a world number one ranking for seated shot put in 2005. She was named the ACT Athletics Outstanding AWD Athlete in 2003-2004, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 as well as the Athletics Australia Female Athlete with a Disability of the Year in 2009-2010. Louise’s next appearance at a Paralympic Games saw her place 6th in shot put, a result that she is very proud of, considering she suffered migraines throughout the Games.
In 2010 Louise threw the shot a world record distance of 6.17m to win gold at the Commonwealth Games. She later beat this record at a domestic competition in Canberra, throwing a distance of 6.24m. A bronze medal at the 2011 IPC World Championships further indicated Louise’s medal potential for London, where she claimed silver in shot put.
Although London was an exciting time for Louise, she recalls feeling stressed and upset at one point, thinking someone had stolen her phone. After asking athletes and staff to help her look for it, and rummaging through her room, Louise found it in her bra.
While Louise had hoped to win gold and regain her world record title at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio, she put up a strong performance to take bronze.
Ahead of each competition, she likes to get into gear by listening to music at maximum volume and singing loudly. She also keeps the key ring that her late brother gave to her, in her bag, and looks at it before taking to the field.
The one-time model is a great scrabble player, loves her 18-year-old dog, Sachi, and is a fan of the Australian bands, Butterfingers and Numbers Radio. She graduated from Canberra Institute of Technology with a Certificate III in Business along with her mother and coach, June. It was a momentous occasion for both of them, as they had spent seven years studying between training commitments. Louise has also since completed a Certificate IV in Human Resources.