Britain’s Paralympic Hopefuls – Eleanor Simmonds

Labour Party

It seems wrong to call Eleanor Simmonds a hopeful given everything she has achieved already; having already won two gold medals in swimming at the Beijing Paralympics when only 13 years old.

Eleanor began swimming at age four and entered her first competition just four years later. After watching the 2004 Paralympic Games on television, Eleanor was inspired to take her sport to an elite level and stepped up her training with the aim of qualifying for Beijing 2008.

She achieved this and, competing in S6 disability category, Eleanor swam in the 50 m, 100 m and 400 m freestyle, 50 m butterfly, and 200 m individual medley.  Despite Beijing being her first games and, at 13, being the youngest athlete in the competition, she went on to win gold in both the 100 m freestyle and 400 m freestyle.

This incredible achievement gained wide recognition and in 2008 Eleanor was awarded the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.  Not only that, but a year later she made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). At 14 she was the youngest person to have ever received this honour.

Eleanor has not rested much since winning in Beijing and has gone on to take ten gold medals at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Swimming World Championships in 2009 and 2010, five golds at the IPC European Championships, and a gold at the Paralympic world cup

Eleanor might be one of Britain’s best hopes winning, not just one, but a number of gold medals at this summer’s games.  She says that she hates to lose, but looking at her career, you don’t imagine it’s much of a problem for her.