Six-time Paralympic gold medallist Ellie Cole OAM has targeted the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games as the curtain call on her illustrious career.
For four-time Commonwealth Games medallist Ellie Cole OAM, the opportunity to represent Australia at her third Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and say goodbye to her able-bodied swimming friends is an opportunity too good to miss.
“I thought, ‘you know what, I’ll go on for another eight months’,” Cole told 2GB radio host Jim Wilson.
“I’ll swim that one last time with my Olympic friends, so then I can say goodbye to the whole team.”
Cole has been a beloved member of the Australian Dolphins team since debuting at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics and has been instrumental in promoting the Para-sport movement across Australia, not only for Paralympics Australia but also for the Commonwealth Sport Movement dating back to her Commonwealth Games debut in Delhi in 2010 as an 18-year-old.
Her advocacy for the Para-sport movement was a key driver in the Australian Federal Government announcing additional funding to ensure Tokyo Paralympic medallists would be awarded equal prize money as their Australian Olympics counterparts.
The parity between athletes and the equal footing between Para-sport team members and their able-bodied counterparts, such as in an Australian team at a Commonwealth Games, is an enticing factor in Cole’s next decision in her illustrious career.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will host the largest ever integrated Para-sport program, as well as a record number of mixed events.
“I’ll leave it at my fourth [Paralympics],” Cole said after the Paralympics.
“I do want to continue until the Commonwealth Games next year.
“The Commonwealth Games is the only event where I can travel with our Olympic guys… I’ve said farewell to my Paralympic team, but I’m still very close to our Olympic swim team.
“I think I am going to get myself back up for the Commonwealth Games but if I decide to tap out, I’m happy with that.”
Cole made history at the Tokyo Paralympics, becoming Australia’s most decorated female Paralympics medallist, winning her 17th career medal, and called time on her Paralympic career and was named as closing ceremony flagbearer as a final honour.
“To be able to say my final farewell to our Paralympic team by representing them in what I consider to be one of the highest honours bestowed upon an athlete, it really is an honour. I’m honestly speechless,” Cole said after the flagbearer announcement.
“This moment means so much to me and will continue to mean so much to me for the rest of my life.
“It was a grind to get to Tokyo for all of the athletes and all of the staff on the team as well… so to be able to get through to this moment together, to be able to celebrate the last two weeks together as a team, and to be able to celebrate that as flag bearer on the final night, it honestly is a fairytale ending to such a wonderful career that I will treasure for the rest of my life.”
Cole hosted Commonwealth Games Australia’s 300 Days to go show celebrating an important milestone in the countdown to the Games.
The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games will take place from 28 July to 8 August 2022.
To be in the stands in Birmingham supporting the Australian Team, for the first time Australian families and fans will be able to access group tickets for all events at the Commonwealth Games.
The Family & Fans Tour ensures Australian families and fans can sit and cheer together, stay together and play together at the Birmingham Games.
Tour packages are available; however, numbers are limited.
Bookings are now open, learn more about the Family & Fans Tour below.