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Ellie Simmonds announces retirement

Ellie Simmonds
Ellie Simmonds Image credit:

Ellie Simmonds has said she is ready to retire from competing in Paralympic Games after missing out on medals at the Tokyo games.

The GB swimmer was almost disqualified in the women’s 400m freestyle S6 for failing to touch the wall during her second turn, but the decision was overruled following an appeal.

Simmonds finished fourth in the 100m breaststroke and fifth in the 200m individual medley.

In an emotional interview with Channel 4 Ellie said: “I think this is going to be my last. I’ll go home and evaluate. Four Games. As an eight, nine-year-old, watching Athens 2004, to think as a kid then I would not just go to one Games but four. To go to a home Paralympics, to come away with eight Paralympic medals and being part of that Paralympic movement as well.

“I’m not just saying that because I’m gutted or anything like that. I knew going into these Games this was going to be the last. I don’t think I could go for another three years. I’m leaving it at the right time – I love it, I’ve absolutely had a wonderful competition and I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Ellie Simmonds, 26, has won a total of eight medals, including five gold, across three Paralympics. She won her first two golds in Beijing 2008 aged just 13, a few months later she achieved an MBE.

In the 2013 Simmonds received an OBE in the New Year’s honours list which recognised her services for Paralympic sport after winning two gold medals at London 2012 setting world records in the 400m freestyle and the 200m individual medley.

“I can’t thank everyone enough for the support,” Simmonds said. “My coach, my parents, my sister, family, everyone, for getting me to these Games and helping to get me to four Paralympics, which is amazing. I love the Paralympics and I love absolutely everyone on the team, it’s just been incredible but I’m looking forward to going home.

“One thing about these Games is you don’t have your family and loved ones in the crowds. For me they’re like my comfort blanket, even though I’ve been going for so many years. Having them there in the crowd is a big thing for me … especially Billy [Pye], he is my rock; he is not just my coach, he is my best friend. Not having him here has been hard for me.

“I could stand here for hours and thank those who have helped me. It has been an amazing part to play, inspiring that next generation. I am honoured. It makes me emotional to think that Maisie [Summers-Newton] and Ellie [Robinson], all those guys and girls were inspired by watching me in 2012. Now they are inspiring the next generation.”

Ellie Simmonds studied Psychology at Loughborough University.