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Right leg limb loss
Cancer - sarcoma
Date of Birth
First Competed for Australia
Beijing 2008, London 2012
South African Paralympic swimmer Natalie Du Toit, Australian swimmer Kerry Hoare, tri-athlete Emma Moffatt
Four gold at London 2012, silver in the 100m butterfly at Beijing 2008
National gold medal at the 2007 Australian Championships in the 100m backstroke
When Ellie Cole left her room at the Australian Institute of Sport and headed for the airport on her way to the London Paralympic Games, she knew she could return a gold medallist. Not only did she win gold, she did it four times in the 100m backstroke and freestyle and the 4x100m freestyle and medley relays, as well as collecting two bronze medals in the 50m and 400m freestyle.
As one of the most promising Paralympic swimmers in Australia, Ellie defeated her hero and long time nemesis, South African champion Natalie du Toit to win her two individual gold medals, which she described as a bizarre feeling.
From Frankston in Victoria, Ellie grew up swimming as part of her rehabilitation after she was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two. After a round of treatment that did not reduce the cancer, her parents made an agonising decision to amputate Ellie’s leg to save her life. She had her right leg amputated on Valentine’s Day when she was just three years old.
Ellie began her international swimming career as a 15-year-old, at the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships, where she won a silver medal. From there, she focused on backstroke, and made the 2008 Paralympic Team, where she won one silver and two bronze medals.
Ellie continued to record podium finishes in a variety of events and competitions in the lead up to London 2012. She won two bronze medals at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi in the 100m freestyle and butterfly and also brought home two bronzes from the 2010 World Championships. Shortly after, she moved to the AIS to concentrate on her swimming and study exercise science at university.
While her disability has occasionally landed her in trouble (she once threw her leg at a boy in year seven who was annoying her), overall it has made her more determined to excel in swimming, believing that it is better to have a sore neck from aiming too high than a hunch back from aiming too low.
Outside of the pool, she enjoys having picnics, bike riding on trails and going out to the movies. Having since moved back to Frankston, after swimming she would like to be a PE teacher at the local high school.
Sport & Disciplines
Disciplines: 50m freestyle
Disciplines: 100m freestyle
Disciplines: 400m freestyle
Disciplines: 100m backstroke
Disciplines: 100m butterfly