Swimmer Ellie Cole will sign off on her Paralympics career in style after being named Australia’s flagbearer for the Tokyo closing ceremony.
The 29-year-old became Australia’s most decorated female Paralympian in Tokyo when she won a silver and bronze medal at her fourth and final Games to take her career haul to 17 medals – one more than former swimmer Priya Cooper.
“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 in a statement.
“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.”
As an infant, Cole underwent chemotherapy to treat a sarcoma but when it was unsuccessful, she had her right leg amputated above the knee – and initially took up swimming as part of her rehabilitation.
After making her Paralympics debut in Beijing, Cole went on to medal at all four Games she attended, including claim six gold medals – four in London and two in Rio.