Quick Facts

Physical Impairment – Right leg limb loss
How acquired
Cancer - sarcoma
Date of Birth
December 12, 1991
Granville, NSW
Started Competing
First Competed for Australia
Games Experience

Beijing 2008, London 2012


Natalie Du Toit, Kerry Hoare and Emma Moffatt

Career Highlights

Winning gold in the 4x100m medley relay at London 2012

Greatest Moment

Australia winning the men’s 4x100m relay at the Sydney 2000 Olympics


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 was diagnosed with cancer at the age of two. After a round of treatment that did not reduce the cancer, her parents made the agonising decision to amputate her leg.

Two days after the surgery, Ellie was standing on her new prosthetic leg and with the encouragement of her mother Jenny (and the incentive of a few tasty Freddo Frogs), she was walking steadily within a few weeks. Two decades later, Jenny regards Freddo Frogs as a good luck charm and carries them with her to each of Ellie’s major competitions.

As part of her rehabilitation, Ellie started swimming lessons. Expected to take a year to swim a straight line because of her body’s new reduction in symmetry, it took the natural born swimmer just two weeks.

Ellie made her Australian debut at 15-years-old when she competed at the 2006 IPC Swimming World Championships. Making a splash almost immediately, she won a silver medal in the 50m backstroke and made a name for herself in international swimming circles. Focussing on her medal-winning stroke, she was selected to compete at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and won one silver and two bronze medals.

While Ellie has a long list of accomplishments to her name, she says her gold medal performance as part of the 4x100m medley relay team at London 2012 is her career highlight. She recalls the incredible final moment of the race where Australia stormed home to defeat the host nation as a combination of pure happiness and sheer relief, and says winning in front of a crowd cheering for another team made the moment particularly competitive and satisfying.

Citing exhaustion from London, Ellie took an extended break from swimming and underwent a much-needed double shoulder reconstruction which threatened her career. However, her passion for swimming eventually reignited and since then, she has used Rio as a motivator for her recovery. In 2015, Ellie made a stellar comeback to the international scene, breaking a world record in her first race at the IPC Swimming World Championships before she went on to bring home three gold and two silver medals.

When Ellie isn’t swimming, she can often be found coaching junior swimmers or in her kitchen cooking up a storm.


Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 50m freestyle Classification: S9
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m freestyle Classification: S9
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 400m freestyle Classification: S9
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 100m backstroke Classification: S9
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 4x100m medley relay Classification: S9
  • Sport: Swimming Disciplines: 4x100m freestyle relay Classification: S9