Ellie Simmonds

Born: November 11, 1994

Occupation: Professional Swimmer & Paralympian

Challenges overcome: Achondroplasia

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

Ellie Simmonds was born in Walsall on 11 November 1994. Eleanor ‘Ellie’ Simmonds is a professional swimmer and paralympic gold medallist who currently holds 10 world records in swimming.

Beginning swimming at the age of five, Ellie was competing against able-bodied children by the time she was eight years old.  After being spotted by a talent scout whilst at a disability sports event, Ellie was entered into the British Swimming talent programme. At twelve years old, after working her through the ranks, Ellie became the youngest member of the British Swimming squad for the 2006 IPC World Championships.

Bursting onto the scene at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Ellie has continued to win multiple medals and break a number of world records in swimming, whilst balancing her schoolwork and training. Ellie went on to be the youngest winner of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award in 2008, and the youngest recipient of an MBE, at the age of 14. In 2013, Ellie received an OBE for her services to paralympic sport.

In her career so far, Ellie has dominated her sport, winning ten European titles, thirteen world titles, and breaking eight world records, as well 4 gold medals at the paralympics.

With such a successful career, Ellie has become a poster girl for the paralympics and is well loved by the British Public. Ellie has been an ambassador for Simsbury’s ‘Get Kids Active’ campaign since 2009, to motive and inspire children to live healthier. Ellie also became an author in 2014, releasing her first book, ‘Ellie’s Magical Bakery’.

Challenges Overcome

Ellie has achondroplasia, the most common form of dwarfism.

“Growing up, I was aware of being a dwarf but I felt I could do anything. It’s part of my personality to be very determined. I like to win.”

“I am very lucky, it’s only my legs which are affected. In 2007 I had an operation to put metal plates in my knees to stop one of the bones growing faster than the other but some people with dwarfism have problems with their back and need metal plants in their spine.”

Disability Definitions


Dwarfism occurs when an individual person is short in stature resulting from a medical condition caused by abnormal (slow or delayed) growth. In humans, dwarfism is sometimes defined as an adult height of less than 4 feet 10 inches. Dwarfism can be caused by about 200 distinct medical conditions, such that the symptoms and characteristics of individuals with dwarfism vary greatly.

There are several different kinds of dwarfism, such as: achondroplasia, diastrophic dysplasia, spondylo-epiphyseal dysplasia (SED), pseudoachondroplasia, hypochondroplasia, and osterogenesis imperfecta (OI).


Achondroplasia is the most common form of dwarfism, occurring once every 14,000 births. The symptoms of Achondroplasia include a large head; shorter arms and legs, especially upper arms and thighs; prominent forehead; protruding jaw; crowded and misaligned teeth; forward curvature of lower spine (creates swayback look); bowed legs; flat, short, and broad feet; and loose ligaments creating “double jointedness”

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