If you’re looking for inspiring Aussies, look no further than Ellie Cole, OAM.

She’s competing in the Paralympic swimming events right now.

Ellie is one of the most successful swimmers in Australia Paralympic history. At the age of 29, this is her fourth Paralympics and she has already is the proud owner of 15 medals – 6 of which are gold.

Ellie had a rare form of cancer as a toddler that, after not responding to chemotherapy, required her right leg to be amputated above the knee at the tender age of three.

She has no memory of having cancer or having two legs but she does know she’s always had a love of swimming and was in the pool weeks after her surgery as part of her rehabilitation program.

She’s fiercely competitive and having a twin sister gave her the momentum, encouragement, and inspiration Ellie needed to not be limited by anything. If her sister could do it, she could too.

Apparently, Ellie was bullied on her first day at high school but that was short-lived after she took her prosthetic leg off and threw it at the bully. This makes me love her even more!

Ellie claims that everything in her life starts with a “yes” and that seems to be her superpower. She also has a formidable attitude.

Just four months before the Tokyo Paralympics were due to start she was in hospital recovering from a broken hip. The delay to the Games caused by Coronavirus, along with inspiration from athlete Jana Pitman, allowed time for Ellie to recover, train, rebuild strength in her mind and body.

So here she is. Amongst her peers. Some of the greatest athletes there are. All with different abilities. Some missing limbs or with limbs that don’t work as intended, some with delays and differences. All with a winning attitude.

I love this quote from Ellie from a Mamamia interview, “I don’t mind people making comments to me, but when they say it over and over again for like 20 years, all of a sudden you walk into a Paralympics and everybody there is looking at you in the eyes, instead of down to your leg. You don’t get that anywhere else. It kinda sucks you only get it for two weeks every four years,”

So next time you’re faced with a question or a challenge, respond with a yes. Next time you see someone with a difference look them in the eye and look for the similarities.

And most of all, cheer on Ellie and all the other Aussie Paralympians who are doing us proud in Tokyo right now.

Ellie is truly a #kickasswoman