Paralympic Games: Ellie Simmonds, a five-time Paralympic gold medalist, has announced her retirement from swimming.
Last week, the 26-year-old said that Tokyo 2020 would be her fourth and final Paralympic Games.
Simmonds, who was chosen as one of Great Britain’s opening ceremony flagbearers in Japan, had intended to return home and reflect on her career before deciding “it’s time to hang up the goggles.”
“I’ve heard it said that you know when it’s time to call it a day,” she wrote on Twitter, “and after much consideration, I know that now is the appropriate moment for me.”
“Being a part of the Paralympic movement and being able to contribute in some tiny way to the advancement of para-sport means a lot to me, and it’s something I’ll keep doing.”
It’s time to hang up the goggles x pic.twitter.com/sNy4uufu0F
— Ellie Simmonds (@EllieSimmonds1) September 9, 2021
“Being a Paralympian has completely transformed my life.” I’ve made some of the best friends, travelled over the world, and met some of the most incredible and inspiring individuals – all while having the time of my life.”
Simmonds became one of Britain’s most well-known Paralympians when she won two gold medals in Beijing in 2008 at the age of 13 and two more gold medals in London four years later.
She won gold in Rio 2016 but fell short of the podium in Tokyo.
Ellie Simmonds came in fifth place in her last race, the S6 400m freestyle, last Thursday after an original disqualification was overturned on appeal.
Maisie Summers-Newton, a fellow Briton, won gold in both the SB6 100m breaststroke and SM6 200m individual medley events in the Far East, with Simmonds finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Competing for Great Britain has been the greatest honour of my life since my first international competition at the age of 12 in 2006 in the Tokyo Paralympics,” she added.
“It’s difficult to express how pleased, honoured, and grateful I am for everything, not least the incredible support I’ve received, since having my dreams come true as a wide-eyed and thrilled 13-year-old in Beijing and then competing in a home Games in 2012 through to today.
“I enjoy swimming and will still be seen in the pool, but now I won’t have to wake up at 4:30 a.m. to do it.”
A Paralympic icon whose career transcends sport.
We'll miss you, @EllieSimmonds1
— ParalympicsGB (@ParalympicsGB) September 9, 2021
Chris Furber, the national performance director for British Para-Swimming, said in a statement: “What Ellie has accomplished is genuinely game-changing, not just for para-swimming but for inclusion and diversity in general.
“She leaves a great legacy, both in terms of her incredible swimming exploits and in the way she has fought stereotypes and encouraged the entire nation.” Ellie is a truly exceptional individual.”
“She is a true legend of the sport, and she has been so influential in so many ways,” British Swimming CEO Jack Buckner remarked. Hers has been an amazing career.
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