Eleanor May "Ellie" Simmonds, OBE (born 11 November 1994) is a British Paralympian swimmer competing in S6 events. She came to national attention when she competed in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, winning two gold medals for Great Britain, despite being the youngest member of the team, at the age of 13. In 2012, she was again selected for the Great Britain squad, this time swimming at a home games in London. She won another two golds in London, including setting a World Record in the 400m freestyle, and a further gold medal at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, this time setting a world record for the 200m medley.
Born in Walsall, Simmonds grew up in the Metropolitan Walsall Borough of Aldridge. She completed her primary education at Cooper and Jordan School before attending Aldridge School and later Olchfa School in Swansea. Simmonds, who has achondroplasia, became interested in swimming at the age of five. She swam for Boldmere Swimming Club in Sutton Coldfield, under Head Coach Ashley Cox, but she and her mother moved to Swansea when Simmonds was 11 to take advantage of the city's world-class swimming pool. Simmonds has 3 sisters and a brother.
At the age of 13, Simmonds was the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing, competing in the 50m, 100m and 400m freestyle, 50m butterfly, and 200m Individual Medley. She won gold medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle events.
On 1 September 2012, Simmonds repeated her gold performance to win the 400m freestyle at the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London, in which she took five seconds off the World Record time. Two days later, on the evening of 3 September, she took Gold in the 200m Individual Medley, breaking the World Record that she had set in the qualifying round that morning.
On 12 September 2016, at the Rio Paralympics, Ellie defended her Gold medal for the 200m individual medley setting a new world record, the first below 3 minutes at 2:59.81 Simmonds also won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle at the 2016 paralympics.
In addition, Simmonds has won ten gold World Championship titles.
She swims in the S6 disability category.
Simmonds won the 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.
Simmonds was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours. At 14 years old, she became the youngest person ever to have received this honour. She received the honour from Queen Elizabeth II on 18 February 2009. In March 2012, in the 200 m individual medley, she became the first swimmer to break a world record at London's Aquatics Centre. Her victory in a time of 3:08.14 broke her own previous best time by over half a second.
In 2011, Simmonds won the award for 'Best British Sporting Performance for an Athlete with Disability' at the Jaguar Academy of Sport Annual Awards. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics in London Simmonds won four medals, two golds, a silver and a bronze. She took gold in the S6 400m with a new world record; gold in the S6 200m again with a new world record; silver in the S6 100m and a bronze in the S6 50m. In celebration of her two gold medals, two Royal Mail postboxes were painted gold in her honour, one in Aldridge and one in Swansea.
Simmonds was elevated to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours for services to Paralympic sport.