Australian sporting great Ellie Cole says it is inspiring to see the values shared by the international Paralympic movement and WorldPride.
- Cole says it is an honour to be involved with Sydney WorldPride
- She says the Paralympic and WorldPride movements have taken great strides in celebrating inclusivity
- Sydney WorldPride runs through until March 5
Cole — who won 17 medals across four Paralympics — is serving in an ambassadorial role at Sydney WorldPride, which is being hosted at the moment.
WorldPride is a global LGBTQIA+ festival that has been staged since 2000.
Cole said both the Paralympics and WorldPride promoted strong messaging around inclusivity.
“The Paralympic movement has clearly shone a spotlight for inclusion and diversity in the sporting world, there’s no doubt about that,” Cole told ABC Sport.
“It’s really interesting seeing the correlation with how far I’ve come in terms of the Paralympic world and the Paralympic messaging, and how that’s relating to WorldPride this week and next week.
“It’s just been incredible to see people who just want to bring their true selves and be celebrated for that.
“That is something I tried to do for my entire Paralympic career … just be really authentic and people resonated with that.
“So, I think that is why this week means so much to me and why WorldPride means so much to me because I’ve never wanted to hide who I am.
“Being able to see … tens of thousands of people having the opportunity to do the same thing is something that you can’t replicate anywhere else.”
Cole said it was heartening that more athletes around the world were feeling comfortable about coming out.
“Seeing athletes being able to stand up and say, ‘This is who I am’, and having support from the media and having support from supporters who stand by diverse athletes, it makes more of an impact than you realise,” she said.
Sydney WorldPride celebrations began on February 17 and run through until March 5.
Cole won six Paralympic gold medals during her decorated career, in addition to three world championships.