Ellie Simmonds, swimmer

Ellie Simmonds, swimmer

By BBC Radio 4

Ellie Simmonds has competed at four Paralympic Games, winning five gold medals and breaking world records on the way. She first came to national attention at the age of 13, when she won two golds at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics, and became the youngest person ever to be awarded an MBE a few months later.

Ellie is the youngest of five children and was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Swimming was central to her life from a very early age, and her ambition to compete at the highest level was sparked by watching the Athens 2004 Paralympics on TV at the age of nine, when her mother told her she could take part at any age, as long as she was good enough.

She became the face of the London 2012 Paralympics and won a further two gold medals, followed by another gold in Rio in 2016. Shortly after taking part in the Tokyo Paralympics last year, she announced her retirement from competitive swimming at the age of 26.

She recently presented TV documentaries on conservation and on the controversies surrounding drug treatments for achondroplasia.

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