Ellie Beer is one of Australia's most exciting upcoming athletes.

Ellie Beer is one of Australia's most exciting upcoming athletes. Photo: Athletics Australia Website

Ellie Beer is not your average teenager, balancing university, work and a strict training schedule; she’s always dreamed of a shot at Olympic glory, and this year she was got that opportunity.

Ellie Beer is not your average teenager, balancing university, work and a strict training schedule; she’s always dreamed of a shot at Olympic glory, and this year she was got that opportunity.

One afternoon in 2015, a curly-haired 12-year-old girl sat down with her coach following a training session, to pitch him the idea of representing Australia at the Olympics. 

It seemed like a long shot, only just beginning to learn the technique and skill of running 400 metres, but if Ellie Beer never dared to dream, she wouldn’t be where she is today.

Three years after Cathy Freeman claimed Olympic gold in the 400m event at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Beer was born. 

“I always remember watching her race at the Olympics growing up, she’s just phenomenal… hopefully one day I’ll be able to achieve what she has,” the now 18-year-old told The Inner Sanctum.

Introduced to the sporting world through her mother, Beer explains that her family’s involvement in the Currumbin Beach Vikings Surf Club allowed her to develop a passion for running.

“Every Sunday morning I used to go down there and I just loved it, running back and forth on the sand.”

Ellie Beer as a child at Currumbin Beach. Photo: Viking Athletics Instagram

Running on the sand brought Beer significant success before she transitioned to the synthetic track.

In 2017, she took home the age-group state and national beach sprint titles at 14, and from then, her success has snowballed.

“That was kind of my first real taste of a national standard and it was phenomenal, to be honest,”

“It was at home and I had all my family and beautiful friends watching and it was just the most amazing experience and a time that I will always remember.”

Beer took home the ‘Athlete of the Year’ award for the Gold Coast Academy of Sport at the end of 2017 after an extremely successful season on the beach and track.

Ellie Beer and her coach Brett Robinson in 2017. Photo: Supplied

Crediting former Olympic heptathlete Glynis Nunn OAM for gifting her opportunities throughout the program, Beer reflected on how winning the award came as a huge shock.

“When I received the award I was so surprised,” she said.  “The amount of support I received from the Gold Coast Academy of Sport was amazing.

“It’s my passion in life to become an elite athlete and I think Glynis Nunn has just helped me so much in regard to recovery, nutrition and all the other small things.”

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Motivated and disciplined as an emerging elite athlete, Beer claimed the U16s 200m-400m double in 2018, running again the following year to take home the U17s double.

At 16 years of age, Beer stepped onboard a flight to Doha, Qatar and became the youngest person to ever represent Australia at the World Athletics Championships.

“It was quite amazing, I went away with all my idols, I was just watching in terms of what they were doing, whether it was in the dining hall or out on the warm-up track,” she said.

“I was not on the full 400m program then because I was still a developing athlete.

“That experience definitely shaped me into being a much better athlete today.

“I was that 16-year-old just absolutely idolising everyone.”

Beer competed in the women’s 4×400 metres relay heats in Doha, Qatar. Photo: olympics.com.au

The Doha championships were a pivotal point in Beer’s athletic career, not only did they bring her more media attention, but they also gave her the ability to attract more sponsors.

But for the rising star, her main focus was completing senior schooling.

“I was trying to balance between studying and training and it did get quite tough here and there because I was in grade 11.”

It’s easy to get caught up in the world of elite athleticism, but growing up balancing education and competitions has inspired Beer to continue her love for learning.

Now studying a Bachelor of Sport Development at Griffith University, the teen sensation enjoys exploring her passion for sport in the classroom.

“It’s a really good way to get away from running,” she said.

“I’m only doing part-time so it’s just two courses over each trimester, so I can have that easier balance between running and studying.

“It can get quite tough particularly during the pre-season because I’m training nearly every single day.”

A member of the Griffith Sports College, Beer acknowledges the support the program has given her in order to ensure she completes her degree at her own pace.

Although she’s only halfway through her journey to becoming Australia’s next top sporting star, Beer’s collection of achievements is currently topped by her Tokyo 2020 Olympic experience.

Left heartbroken when she found out the Games would be postponed, Beer pushed harder than ever before to ensure she maintained her form.

“It allowed me to get a little bit more training under my belt,” she explained.

“I got back into my pre-season training and was just so looking forward to build more strength and speed so I could be faster for the Olympics.”

Busy working at her local fish and chip shop, the teen received an out of the blue phone call from her father one afternoon.

He was glancing over her emails and stumbled across something her whole family dreamed of seeing, an invitation to attend the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

“I had to keep it quiet because they weren’t announcing the team until the next day,” Beer explained.

“I was at work and everyone was asking me why I was so excited, but I just had to tell them that I was excited because it was Friday.”

Coached by Brett Robinson at Viking Athletics since she was 12, Beer completed different phases of training before the Olympics.

Alternating sessions each day of the week, in the lead up to Tokyo the youngster spent most of her time on the track or in the gym.

Nutrition plays a fundamental role in aiding training sessions and recovery, with many athletes looking to dietitians to assist with meal structure.

Beer works alongside Sally at the Queensland Academy of Sport to understand the importance of nourishment.

“I’m very into my cooking at the moment,” the teen joked.

“I’ve been with [Sally] over the course of three years, I don’t specifically set myself a diet, it’s just as long as I make sure I include all the food groups in all my meals throughout the day.

“I just make sure I have a balance between the carbs, proteins and fats so that I have enough fuel for my training in the afternoons.

“I usually train in thw afternoons and I love it because it means I get to have all the food groups throughout the day.”

As a result of the pandemic in Australia, Beer didn’t get many opportunities to train with her teammates in preparation for the games.

Practicing passing the baton with members of her Viking Athletics team on the Gold Coast, Beer was ecstatic when she finally got to head to Cairns for Olympic training camp.

Due to the humidity in Tokyo, Cairns was chosen as the location for the Australian Athletics team to hold their training camp because of the similarities in climate.

Acclimatisation is the process of becoming accustomed to a new climate or conditions, a necessary step in the journey to ensure Beer and her teammates were prepared for the intense heat they would face at the Olympic Games. 

As athletics was in the second half of the Olympic program, the team weren’t able to attend the opening ceremony in Tokyo, instead celebrating via television in far-north Queensland.

Angeline Blackburn, Kendra Hubbard and Ellie Beer (L-R) celebrating the Opening Ceremony in Cairns. Photo: Kendra Hubbard (Instagram)

“I remember we were all watching it as a team in the function room, it was really good to watch and so awesome to see Cate Campbell and Patty Mills come out as the flag bearers,” Beer recalled.

“We all got dressed up in our opening ceremony gear and got a big photo.”

Stay tuned for Part 2; where Beer talks about her Tokyo experience, meeting her idols and the next step in her running career.

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