A six-year-old Ella Nelson watched from the stands as Melinda Gainsford-Taylor ran the 200m at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
Gainsford-Taylor finished sixth, just ahead of Cathy Freeman, and although she didn’t win the race, Melinda won a fan in Ella Nelson.
Nelson entered her first Olympic campaign 2016, having produced a career best domestic season culminating in her third Australian 200m title at the Australian Athletics Championships, fittingly inside Sydney's Olympic Athletics Stadium.
In lane three of Rio de Janeiro's Olympic Stadium, Nelson powered home in her heat clocking 22.66 to finish second and auto-qualify for a semi-final.
In the semi-finals, Nelson flew from the outside, lunged at the line for a 3rd place finish and a new personal best time of 22.50. But it wasn’t enough.
Ella missed qualifying for the final by 0.01 seconds.
Nelson, too, fell short but like her own idol, she inspired all those little-athletes who watched that semi-final with wide eyes. She’s on her way to eventually making that 200m final, and next time Ella might bring her own admirers, too.
Re-live Nelson's race moments thanks to 7Olympics.