Champion Ellie Simmonds Has Several Paralympics Under Her Belt, and Now She’s an Inspiration on “Strictly Come Dancing”
Ellie Simmonds started swimming at the age of 5, and when she was only 13, she was already off to her first Paralympics. The winner of countless medals navigates through life with optimism, exploring the world with curiosity. Ellie has tried her hand at several careers and even completed a university degree, but her most recent undertaking is becoming a contestant in a dance show on British TV. Nothing seems to stop this swimmer from reaching her goals.
She was born into a large family.
Simmonds grew up in a large family. She has 3 sisters and a brother. There’s a big age difference between Ellie, who is the youngest, and her eldest sibling. The girls’ parents, Steve and Val Simmonds, brought up all their children surrounding them with acceptance and support. They’re the main cheerleaders at every single one of Ellie’s competitions and consider her medals to be the most incredible achievement.
The champion’s closest relationship is with her sister Katie, who is 5 years older than her. Ellie admits, that they used to fight a lot as kids, and it’s because they’re so similar — they even both have achondroplasia.
She left home when she was 11.
Ellie’s parents brought her up with the firm belief that she could achieve anything she wanted. And when their daughter discovered her talent for swimming, they were happy to support her. When Simmonds turned 11, she moved from Aldridge to Swansea with her mom so she could train with the British swimming team. Her father stayed at home with the rest of the children, and the family came together at weekends. This went on for 6 years.
She thought about a career as a teacher.
Ever since she was a child, Ellie dreamed of becoming a primary school teacher. Maybe it was because of the teachers Simmonds was so lucky to have at school or the good relationships she had with her classmates. But in the end, she had to give up on this idea. At the age of 13, the girl was selected to take part in the Paralympics. She went on to compete in Beijing and became the second youngest-ever British Paralympic athlete to win a medal.
Returning to her classmates, with whom the athlete has always had a good relationship, was a triumph. Ellie was driven to school with her friends in a limo decorated with gold ribbons. Students chanted her name and greeted the winner with bunches of flowers. And best of all, the new star made sure there was enough cake for the entire school.
She set a world record.
Ellie’s number of victories kept growing year after year, with her bringing home 4 gold medals at the age of 17. At the Paralympics in Brazil, Simmonds won again, which earned her another gold medal and set a world record. Between the competitions in Rio and Tokyo, the athlete took a break to travel, returning to compete once again at the Paralympics in Japan in 2020.
She became a flag bearer at the Paralympics.
In recognition of Ellie’s achievements at 3 Paralympic Games, she was also chosen to be the flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Games, along with archer John Stubbs. Symbolically, these Paralympics became the last for the athlete, with Simmonds deciding to end her sporting career.
She graduated from university.
Ellie seems to be an endless stream of positive energy. Not only did she do sports professionally, but she also found time to study and write. Simmonds has penned a series of children’s books, Ellie’s Magic Bakery. In between sporting seasons, the champion found time to study and obtained a degree in psychology from Loughborough University.
She’s made a documentary.
A documentary about her life came out in 2016, titled Ellie Simmonds: Swimming with Dolphins, and in 2022, Simmonds herself took a seat in the director’s chair and made the documentary Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism? The film is about research into a new drug to treat children with the most common form of dwarfism, achondroplasia.
She fell in love with a childhood friend.
Ellie’s personal life is working out very well. It is known that Simmonds has a boyfriend, Matt Dean. The 2 have known each other since they were children. The couple met through Matt’s parents, who are co-founders of the Dwarf Sports Association. They’ve been friends for a long time but decided to turn their relationship into a romantic one once they were already adults.
The lovebirds recently got their own place. Their relationship is so serious, that the couple is already thinking about having children. Ellie is looking forward to motherhood: “I would like to have children in the future. I would love that child whatever, just as my parents loved me.”
She’s inspiring millions on the legendary show’s dancefloor.
Matt supports Ellie in her new endeavors. After her sporting career came to an end, Simmonds got the energy and time for creative projects. This year, the champion became the star of the show Strictly Come Dancing. Ellie’s boyfriend warmly supported her decision to get on the dance floor. And, paired with dancer and choreographer Nikita Kuzmin, the former swimmer has already performed for millions of viewers: “It means so much for everyone out there watching who is in the dwarfism community, disability community or anyone different.”
Do you remember how and when you learned to swim? And what activity have you wanted to try for a long time but still haven’t taken the plunge?