Strictly Come Dancing: Award-winning swimmer Ellie Simmonds OBE is “petrified” about joining the show

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She was the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing at the age of 13 and won gold medals for two events

Gold medal winning Paralympian swimmer Ellie Simmonds OBE will be joining Strictly Come Dancing’s latest season, BBC announced recently.

She was the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing at the age of 13, and won gold medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle events.

Simmonds, who is from Aldridge, was born with achondroplasia (dwarfism). She started swimming at the age of five. She went on to win four gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the 2010 IPC Swimming World Championships in Eindhoven, the Netherlands.

Simmonds said: “Oh my gosh!! I’m literally bursting with excitement!! It’s been soooo hard keeping this secret as I’ve wanted to tell everyone. I’m going on Strictly Come Dancing!! I’m a tad nervous too, well more than a tad… I’m absolutely petrified! To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to so much fun.

Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who is the latest celebrity revealed as part of the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 line-up. Image: BBCParalympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who is the latest celebrity revealed as part of the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 line-up. Image: BBC
Paralympic swimming gold medallist Ellie Simmonds, who is the latest celebrity revealed as part of the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 line-up. Image: BBC

“I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, It’s going to be a blast. I’ve been watching Strictly from as far back as I can remember; it’s a traditional lead up to Christmas with my family and it’s a genuine privilege to be part of it.”

She won a gold in the 400m freestyle and the 200m Individual Medley at the Summer Paralympics in London in 201. She also won a gold in the 200m Individual Medley at Rio 2016. She was the youngest person ever to receive an MBE at the age of 14 and was later elevated to OBE in 2013 for services to Paralympic sport.

Greg Rutherford, Michelle Ackerley, Ellie Simmonds, Aimee Fuller and Kem Cetinay pose for a photo during Comic Relief All Star Games 3X3 Basketball on August 01, 2022 in BirminghamGreg Rutherford, Michelle Ackerley, Ellie Simmonds, Aimee Fuller and Kem Cetinay pose for a photo during Comic Relief All Star Games 3X3 Basketball on August 01, 2022 in Birmingham
Greg Rutherford, Michelle Ackerley, Ellie Simmonds, Aimee Fuller and Kem Cetinay pose for a photo during Comic Relief All Star Games 3X3 Basketball on August 01, 2022 in Birmingham

She retired from competitive swimming in 2020 and became a broadcaster for BBC Sport. At the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, she lead one of the two teams of during an all-star version of the Commonwealth Games. The programme was in aid of Sport Relief.

Teams took part in track cycling at the Lee Valley Velopark, athletics at the Alexander Stadium, rhythmic gymnastics at Arena Birmingham, basketball 3×3 at Smithfield, and table tennis at the NEC Arena.

It will be broadcast today before the Birmingham 2022 Closing Ceremony on Monday 8 August on BBC.

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