Quick Facts

Disability
Below right knee limb loss
Sport
Swimming
How acquired
Cancer - sarcoma
Date of Birth
December 12, 1991
Home
Granville, NSW
Occupation
Athlete
Started Competing
2003
First Competed for Australia
2006
Games Experience

Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016

Heroes

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

Bio

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 as 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.

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 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.

Going to her third Paralympic Games in Rio, Ellie was a favourite for many events. Competing in six events, she claimed medals in each final, but it wasn’t until her final race on the final night of competition – the 100m backstroke S9 that she was able to surge to Paralympic glory and assert her dominance once again. With tears of joy shed on the podium, Ellie says the win is one of her proudest sporting moments.

Ellie also won gold with the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay team, silver medals in the 4x100m freestyle relay, 50m freestyle, 400m freestyle and a bronze in the 100m freestyle. Her effort of sixth medals saw her become Australia’s highest winning medallist along with Lakeisha Patterson.

Hailing from Frankston, 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 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 she was walking steadily within a few weeks.

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.

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