Many familiar faces joined the event that has become a staple on the Porsche calendar since its inception in 2015. All because of Porsche women that like to collaborate and connect.
In a week that followed an International Women’s day, which in Australia shone a spotlight on women’s sports, woman with drive invited World Champion and Olympian Kelsey-Lee Barber and Olympians Morgan Mitchell and Eleanor Patterson to share their thoughts on the rise of women in sport.
The Olympic Games have pioneered promoting and recognising women long before any other industry or sport did. Women have been included and recognised at Olympic level since the second Games in Paris in 1900. The 2000 Sydney Olympic Games celebrated 100 years of women in Olympics with Kathy Freeman being the first person ever lighting the torch and winning a gold medal at the Games.
28-year-old Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber is the current Javelin World Champion having won gold in Doha in October 2019. She became the first woman from the Southern Hemisphere to win a gold medal in her sport and now has her sights set on this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. However, unlike many others that start in Little Athletics, Kelsey didn’t start throwing until she was 17 years old.
“I always knew that I wanted to compete at the Olympics and it just so happened in 2008 I won the javelin at the Pacific School Games. It clicked with me and I loved it. I thought to myself, yes this is what is going to get me to the Olympics. I thoroughly enjoy the challenge and working towards a goal year on year. There is definitely something special about an individual sport and the challenge you set yourself to be able to achieve your goals within that sport.”
In contrast, runner Morgan Mitchell was always going to make her mark on the sporting stage. At the age of 12, Morgan took a break from athletics to peruse her passion of netball and basketball, playing at a national level, before her talents on the track brought her back to athletics. She recently changed her discipline from 400m to 800m mid-distance running.
“Running the 400 meters I felt a lot of pressure. I was often compared to Kathy Freeman, but I wanted to create my own path and knew 400 meters wasn’t for me. Creating a new team for the 800 meters paid off at the World Championships last year, which was pretty special reaching the semi-final.”
Much like Morgan, high jumper Eleanor Patterson has been competing since she was a child winning four straight Australian junior titles and becoming the third youngest Australian to win gold in the 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion. Earlier this year Eleanor broke the national high-jump record clearing a height of 1.99m. A record that has not been beaten since 1989. Competing since she was six, Eleanor always had a natural talent for high-jump.
“At a very young age I was so full of energy and constantly running and jumping around. I went along to Little Athletics with a friend and the first event I did was high-jump. I ended up winning and breaking the record at that event. So I just fell in love with it and have a passion for high-jump ever since then.”
All three athletes represented Australia in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games and have their sights set on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to reach their goals:
Kelsey-Lee Barber: “I definitely want to continue what I achieved last year. My goal in Tokyo is to be on the podium, hopefully with a gold medal around my neck. There is nothing quite like achieving a lifetime goal as I have last year in Doha.”
Morgan Mitchell: “At the world’s I made the semi-final, I want to make a final. When you make a final at the Olympics, anything can happen.”
Eleanor Patterson: “I’m still on the return from a break last year. Coming back this season with a new coach and finally getting that Australian record, which I had been having on my line for eight years, I feel very good. Looking towards Tokyo, I really want to make the final and be on the podium. I know I have the greatest team around me to bring that to fruition.”
Kelsey-Lee Barber World Champion Javelin, Australian Olympian
28-year-old Australian Kelsey-Lee Barber is the current Javelin World Champion having won gold in Doha in October 2019. She became the first woman from the Southern Hemisphere to win a gold medal in her sport and now has her sights set on this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo. Kelsey is based in Canberra where she trains at the Australian Institute of Sport and is coached by her husband Mike. Her success at last year’s World Championships came off the back of a sensational season in which she reached a career high ranking of no. 2 and threw three personal bests including the 12th longest throw in history at the Spitzen meeting in Luzern last July. She has thrown over 67 metres. Kelsey’s international debut came at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where she won bronze. Since then she has progressed rapidly, competing at the 2016 Olympics and at three World Championships. Other accolades include silver at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and victories at the Australian Championships
Morgan Mitchell Australian Olympian, Running
Morgan Mitchell was always going to make her mark on the sporting stage. At the age of 12, Morgan took a break from athletics to peruse her passion of netball and basketball, playing at a national level, before her talents on the track brought her back to athletics. At the age of 19, Morgan represented Australia at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in the 4x400 metres relay. Now 25, Morgan has represented Australia at two Commonwealth Games, the 2016 Olympics in Rio and three World Championships. 18 months ago, Morgan changed her focus to the 800 metres and at last year’s World Championships in Doha, made the semi-finals. Earlier in the season, she ran the eighth fastest time in Australian history. Morgan now has her sights firmly set on this year’s Tokyo Olympics and breaking the 2-minute mark in her new event. In 2018, Morgan was featured in the popular Netflix documentary, The Game Changes, which looks at elite athletes who have adopted a plant-based diet to improve their performance.
Eleanor Patterson Australian Olympian, High-Jump
Born in Leongatha, Victoria, Eleanor Patterson began competing in the high jump as a child. She competed in local events from the age of six and continued with the Little Athletics programme. In 2012 she won the national junior (under-20) championships jumping 1.87 m at 15 years old. In her first international competition, she won the gold medal at the 2013 World Youth Championships in Athletics, setting a personal best of 1.88 m to win by a margin of six centimetres. In December that year she broke records at the Australian Schools Championships, clearing a height of 1.96 m to equal the world youth best. Patterson was regularly over 1.90 m in the 2014 season, winning a fourth straight Australian junior title and taking her first senior national title at the Australian Athletics Championships. She also represented Australia in the 2014 Commonwealth Games jumping 1.94 m to win the gold medal. This made the 18-year-old the third youngest Australian Commonwealth Games champion ever. In 2016 she represented Australia in the 2016 Rio Olympics. After taking a year off in 2018, she qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In February 2020, she set a new Australian and Oceania record, jumping 1.99 m in New Zealand.