Ellie Simmonds was Britain’s youngest athlete at the Beijing Games in 2008. As the Games opened she was just 13 years 9 months. Incredibly she won two gold medals at the aquatic centre in the 100 metres and 400 metres freestyle. Ellie followed up her Beijing success with four golds, one silver and one bronze at the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.
With her infectious personality, Ellie Simmonds became the “poster girl” for the London 2012 Paralympic Games as one of the host nation’s top athletes in the pool.
At London 2012 she came home triumphantly with four medals. She took Gold, setting a new world record to retain her Paralympic S6 400m freestyle Olympic title, winning in 5 minutes 19.17 seconds to beat the record by more than five seconds.
Two days later, on the evening of 3 September 2012, she won another Gold in the 200m Individual Medley, breaking her own World Record. She also won Silver in the 100m and a Bronze in the 50m.
Born with achondroplasia (dwarfism), Ellie started swimming at five years old, at a club near her family's home in Walsall. She competed against able-bodied swimmers from the age of eight, and was talent-spotted by UK Sport when she was ten. The following year, she and her mother relocated to Swansea so that she could have access to a 50m pool and to be coached to achieve her full potential.
Her parents were determined to show that her condition imposed no limits on what she could do and encouraged her every step of the way. As Ellie says of her stature "I don't see it as a disability. I'm just a normal person, but a bit smaller than everyone else."
She was awarded the BBC Young Sports Personality Award in 2008 and was made an MBE in the New Years Honours list in 2009, the youngest person ever to receive an MBE.