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INTERNATIONAL PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE
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Ellie Simmonds

Eleanor Simmonds

Swimming
9
3
3

Aged just 13 at the time, Ellie Simmonds was the second youngest Paralympian in British history to win a medal of any colour when she competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.

The fact that she went on to win two gold medals in her first Games and follows the simple philosophy "work hard and be yourself" won her the hearts of the British nation. Thanks to her success she also picked up the BBC's Young Sports Personality of the Year award in the same year.

In February 2009 she became the youngest person ever to be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) and later that year won six gold and a silver medal at the IPC Swimming World Championships Short Course in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Born with achondroplasia (dwarfism), Simmonds followed up her 2008 and 2009 successes with four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

At the 2011 IPC Swimming European Championships in Berlin, Simmonds went head-to-head with her Dutch rival Miriam de Koning-Peper, and ended up winning two gold, one silver and bronze medal.

Going into London she was one of the ‘poster girls’ of the Games and thanks to one of her sponsors, a giant image of Simmonds appeared down the side on one of the building’s facing the Olympic Park.

Despite the immense pressure on her, she duly delivered in front of her home crowd claiming two gold, one silver and one bronze medal. She also broke two world records.

In the 2013 New Year's Honours list, she was awarded an Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II.

Her success in the pool continued into 2013 with triple gold and one bronze at the 2013 IPC Swimnming World Championships in Montreal, Canada.

Prior to the 2015 World Championships in Glasgow, Great Britain, Simmonds had not lost the 400m freestyle at a Worlds or Paralympic Games since 2008. That all changed thanks to Ukraine's Yelyzaveta Mereshko, who on her Championships debut beat Simmonds in a thrilling final and claimed a further two gold medals.

Simmonds could not return to the top at the 2016 IPC Swimming Europeans in Funchal, Portugal, claiming one silver and three bronzes.

But the Briton showed at Rio 2016 she is still a force to be reckoned with, breaking the world record in the 200m individual medley by swimming under three minutes for the first time (2:59.81) and winning her fifth Paralympic gold. She went on to seal a bronze in the 400m freestyle behind Mereshko and China's Lingling Song.

Biography

Impairment information

Type of Impairment
Short stature
Origin of Impairment
Congenital
Classification
S6, SB6, SM6

Further personal information

Residence
London, ENG
Occupation
Athlete
Languages
English
Higher education
Psychology - Loughborough University: England

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
She began swimming at age five.
Why this sport?
Her parents took her swimming to give her confidence in the water. She was inspired to become involved at the top level after watching the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
Club / Team
Camden Swiss Cottage SC: England
Name of coach
Rob Aubry [national]; Billy Pye [personal]
Training Regime
She has nine training sessions a week at the London Aquatics Centre in England.

International debut

Year
2006
Competing for
Great Britain
Tournament
World Championships
Location
Durban, RSA

General interest

Nicknames
Ellie (elliesimmonds.com, 30 Mar 2015)
Hobbies
Baking, travel, volunteering. (Twitter profile, 06 Jul 2018; bbc.co.uk, 27 Jun 2017)
Most influential person in career
Coach Billy Pye. (swimming.org, 23 Sep 2013)
Hero / Idol
US swimmer Michael Phelps, British Para swimmer Nyree Kindred [nee Lewis]. (Athlete, 23 Jul 2010; telegraph.co.uk, 30 Apr 2008)
Injuries
At age 12 she had an operation to insert four metal plates into her legs. The plates were used to straighten her limbs. (dailystar.co.uk, 05 Sep 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Work hard and believe in yourself." (swimming.org, 23 Sep 2013)
Awards and honours
In January 2018 she received an honorary degree from Swansea University in Wales. (swimswam.com, 22 Jan 2018)

In November 2013 she received an honorary degree from the University of Bath in England. (itv.com, 07 Nov 2013)

In December 2012 she was appointed Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [OBE]. This followed her appointment as Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire [MBE] at age 14 in 2009, which made her the youngest person to have received the honour. (guardian.co.uk, 30 Dec 2012; walesonline.co.uk, 01 Jan 2009)

She won the 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award. (paralympic.org, 01 May 2009)
Milestones
At age 13 she was the youngest member of the Great Britain team at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, and the second youngest British Paralympian in history [behind swimmer Joanne Round who competed at the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul at age 12]. Her two gold medals in Beijing made her Britain's youngest individual medallist at the time at the Paralympic Games. (telegraph.co.uk, 15 Sep 2008, 30 Apr 2008)
Ambitions
To compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (bbc.co.uk, 27 Jun 2017)
Impairment
She was born with achondroplasia and is a person of short stature. (elliesimmonds.com, 30 Mar 2015)
Other information
FINDING NEW OBJECTIVES
After the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, she struggled to maintain her passion for swimming and considered quitting the sport. She took some time off to travel through Asia, Australia and the United States of America, and then relocated to London to begin training with her former coach Billy Pye again once she returned to the UK. "I just hated swimming and everything about it. I just didn't want to get back in the pool. I didn't have any objectives, I had achieved my dreams. I needed that time away to refocus and figure out what I wanted in life. It gave me perspective of what the sport is for me and helped me find my love for it again. Being back with Billy is such a laugh. We push each other to the limits but we know what makes us tick." (bbc.com, 30 Mar 2018)

FUTURE PLANS
She plans to retire after the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. "I'd love to be a primary school teacher, that's something I would love to do in the future." (dailymail.co.uk, 19 Jan 2018)

OTHER ROLES
In January 2019 she was appointed as a non-executive director of the organising committee for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. "I intend to utilise all the experience and knowledge I've picked up over the course of the last decade and hopefully contribute to making Birmingham the best Commonwealth Games to date." (insidethegames.biz, 22 Jan 2019; expressandstar.com, 22 Jan 2019; gov.uk, 21 Jan 2019)

Results

Unit Date Rank
IPC Swimming World Championships Durban 2006 (Durban, South Africa)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final Round 8
Women's 50 m Butterfly S6 Heats 8
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 7
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heats 7
Women's 100 m Backstroke S6 Heats 9999
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heats 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 7
IPC Swimming World Championships Eindhoven 2010 (Eindhoven, Netherlands)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 3 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final Round 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 1
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Heat 2 1
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final Round 2
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Heat 2 1
Women's 4x100 m Medley 34pts Final Round 2
Women's 4x50 m Medley 20pts Heat 2 3
Women's 4x50 m Medley 20pts Final Round 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 1
Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games (Beijing, China)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final Round 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2
Women's 50 m Butterfly S6 Final Round 8
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 1
Women's 50 m Butterfly S6 Heat 2 4
London 2012 Paralympic Games (London, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2012-09-01 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2012-09-01 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final Round 2012-09-03 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2012-09-03 1
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 3 2012-09-04 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2012-09-04 3
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2012-09-08 2
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2012-09-08 1
2013 IPC Swimming World Championships (Montreal, Canada)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2013-08-12 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2013-08-12 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final 1 2013-08-13 4
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 1 2013-08-13 2
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2013-08-14 4
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2013-08-14 3
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final 1 2013-08-15 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2013-08-15 1
Women's 100 m Backstroke S6 Final 1 2013-08-17 4
Women's 100 m Backstroke S6 Heat 2 2013-08-17 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2013-08-18 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2013-08-18 2
2015 IPC Swimming World Championships (Glasgow, Great Britain)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2015-07-13 2
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2015-07-13 1
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final 1 2015-07-14 3
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 1 2015-07-14 3
Women's 4x100 m Freestyle 34pts Final 1 2015-07-16 3
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2015-07-16 5
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2015-07-16 5
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2015-07-17 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final 1 2015-07-17 1
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2015-07-19 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final 1 2015-07-19 4
Rio 2016 Paralympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Event Medal Unit Date Rank
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2016-09-10 6
Women's 50 m Freestyle S6 Heat 2 2016-09-10 2
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Heat 2 2016-09-12 1
Women's 200 m Individual Medley SM6 Final Round 2016-09-12 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Heat 1 2016-09-13 1
Women's 400 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2016-09-13 3
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Heat 1 2016-09-15 2
Women's 100 m Breaststroke SB6 Final Round 2016-09-15 4
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Final Round 2016-09-17 5
Women's 100 m Freestyle S6 Heat 3 2016-09-17 2