With her infectious personality, Great Britain’s Ellie Simmonds has become the “poster girl” for the London 2012 Paralympic Games as one of the host nation’s top athletes in the pool.
As a 13-year-old, Simmonds captured gold in the 100m and 400m S9 Freestyle races at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, and next year hopes the home support in Great Britain will be just as good as it was in China.
“I think it’s really important to have people come and support us next year,” Simmonds told us.
“I remember being in Beijing and having the Chinese crowd cheering for you, even though they weren’t cheering for you. They were cheering for Chinese athletes, but it gave you a buzz, so hopefully next year we’ll get the buzz of the British people cheering for us.”
Simmonds, who was born with dwarfism, followed up her Beijing success with four golds, one silver and one bronze at the 2010 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, just a year after becoming the youngest person ever to be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE).
She now boasts world records in four events: 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle and 200m Individual Medley.
Assuming she takes Great Britain’s Paralympic trials by storm next March, Simmonds will certainly be one of the athletes to watch among the 4,200 who will be taking part at London 2012.