Debuting in Tokyo as the youngest member of the Australian Athletics team, 18-year-old Ellie Beer ticked a huge dream off her bucket list, leaving her inspired to chase down her goals in the new year.
Read Part 1.
As an emerging athlete in athletics, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the talent that accompanied her on the flight to Tokyo.
With years of training and preparation, Beer landed in Tokyo with the same energy she had landing in Doha only two years ago.
The Olympian spoke to The Inner Sanctum about competing against the world’s best sprinters at such a young age.
“It’s been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics and it was phenomenal,” she said.
“I’m still honestly taking it in ever since I’ve come home, it was just incredible, it was just so good.”
Keeping friendly company with some of Australia’s best athletes is something that the teen is still getting used to.
Meeting swimmer Cate Campbell was a dream come true for Beer, whilst high-jumper Nicola McDermott provided her with endless support in the absence of her family.
“I’ve looked up to Nicola for so long, she’s the most beautiful soul,” Beer explained.
“She helped me out so much with the general chats we shared in the village.
“It was really sad because I know mum and dad would have definitely been there in a heartbeat…they love Tokyo and they’re very very supportive of everything I do.
“I know they were all cheering back home…I could feel their support through the screen.”
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Not only did Beer have the chance to mingle with Australian athletes in Tokyo, she also got to chat to one of her all-time idols; 11-time Olympic medallist, Allyson Felix.
Chatting to Felix was an encounter the rising star will cherish forever, but competing world class athletes of her calibre was a completely different experience.
Stepping out onto Olympic Stadium more than four thousand miles from home, Beer said she lost her train of thought.
“I remember that instant feeling as soon as I stepped out onto the stadium… my eyes went wide and my mind literally went blank,” she recounted.
“I was just so amazed at the atmosphere of the stadium, even though there was no crowd in there, it was still so amazing.”
As the sound of the gun radiated through the speakers, Beer eagerly waited for her turn to race.
In preparation for the Olympics, the teen practiced numerous race plans in order to ensure the best possible performance in Tokyo.
“I definitely tried a few different race plans because the 400m is such a tactical race, you can’t sprint the whole way, I’ve done it a couple of times and it does not end well the last 100m,” joked Beer.
“My main plan was to go out hard with that initial 50m and then as soon as I came down that back straight going into speed reserve and get into the rhythm of things.
“Coming into the second 200m, I was really pushing to the bend and then the last 100m just get to Anneliese [Rubie-Renshaw].
“I remember just standing there and watching Kendra coming down the track and I was just so excited to grab that baton and run.”
Beer was third to run in the four by 400 metre relay event, representing Australia alongside Bendere Oboya, Kendra Hubbard and Anneliese Rubie-Renshaw.
Highlighting the team bond between the relay athletes, Beer emphasised that the order of athletes in the relay was irrelevant.
“I’ve ran third quite a number of times, particularly in Doha and in Japan,” she said.
“It doesn’t really matter in terms of the order because we had such a good team.
“I’ve had experience running that third leg and I just went through with my race plan when I was out there.”
Finishing the relay in seventh place with a time of 3:30.61, the Australian team did not progress through to finals.
The Australian athletics team were able to attend events in the Olympic Stadium and support their teammates in the final days of the games, including Nicola McDermott who took home Silver in the high jump final.
After watching the opening ceremony in Australia through the television screen, Beer was elated to hear the team would be able to attend the closing ceremony in person.
“Originally, I don’t think we were allowed to but then they announced that we were going to go,” she said.
“It was cool because all the Australian crew was there as well as the other countries.
“Japan put on an amazing show with all the beautiful volunteers, the fireworks and the dances.”
At the conclusion of the Olympics, Beer flew home to quarantine at the Stanford Plaza in Brisbane.
Spending two weeks alone in a hotel at such a young age was a valuable personal experience for the teen.
“During that time it felt so good for me to just relax and not really think about anything. I felt like a completely new person leaving.”
With the future now in the forefront of her mind, Beer has returned to training on the Gold Coast, focusing on her ambitions for the new year.
“I’ve got a couple of goals for next year and I’m just going to see how the season pans out,” she said.
“This season I’m really focusing on getting my technique right and getting my speed up so that’s my short-term goal for the moment.
“The next three years are very big and very exciting and after having that Olympic experience I’m definitely inspired to hopefully achieve that dream again.”
The World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon are also a big goal for Beer, who hopes her parents will be able to fly to America to support her at the event.
Whilst the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham and the World Junior Championships in Columbia are also pencilled in on the rising star’s schedule.
With the Paris 2024 Olympics well within Beer’s sight, she reminds The Inner Sanctum that she’s just an athlete with a dream and a hunger to succeed.
“When I was 12 years old, I set myself a goal and I remember saying to [Brett Robinson] Robbo, ‘Hey Robbo, I’d love to go to the Olympics one day’ and he was like ‘Okay, let’s give it a crack!’ and I couldn’t be any more thankful.”
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