Women in the Spotlight: Ellie Simmonds
Ellie Simmonds is in a league of her own when it comes to her incredible achievements in the swimming pool. She started swimming from the age of five and without sounding overly cliché, she took to water like a fish. This woman was born to swim, and by the age of eight she was already competing against able-bodied children. She was succeeding so much that by ten she was talent spotted and immediately put into the British Swimming Talent Programme. Since then there has been no looking back for Simmonds as medal after medal and world record after world record have been added to her name.
When she was only twelve-years old she became the youngest ever member of the senior British Swimming team when she competed in the IPC World Championships in 2006. Simmonds may have been the youngest but she never let that stop her ever. At the mere age of thirteen she got into the swimming pool once again to represent her country at the 2008 Beijing Paralympics where she won not one by two gold medals in S6 events. She became GBs golden girl and superstar to watch as she captured our attention watching this young woman become a huge success all whilst balancing school work and training. Her incredible performance in Beijing resulted in Simmonds being the youngest ever person at age fourteen to be awarded an MBE in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list as well as receiving the award of BBC Young Sports Personality of the year making her the youngest ever recipient.
Simmonds returned four years later to repeat her Paralympic success in London 2012 in front of a home crowd. She was the one to watch and was even the poster girl for the games! This time she didn’t just retain her medals from the previous Paralympics but added to her medal tally taking home gold in the 500m freestyle, whilst also breaking world record, and also in the 200m individual medley. She also received a silver in the 100m and bronze in the 50m freestyle. Her incredible achievements didn’t go unnoticed and in 2013 she received an OBE for her services to Paralympic sport at only eighteen. At only aged twenty-two last summer she competed in her third Paralympics to win yet another gold and break even more world records especially in the 200m individual medley where she was the first ever person to achieve a time below three minutes.
There is no stopping Simmonds. She is a five time Paralympic champion, holding onto countless world records as well as winning 10 world champion titles and she’s only twenty-two! Her career has only just begun and she will continue to achieve such success with all her hard work, dedication and devotion to the sport that she displays. Her passion to excel influences those around her and inspires the public to go above and beyond and that anything is possible is you’ve got the drive and hunger for it.