Cosmopolitan (UK)

“My body has won me gold medals”

ELLIE

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Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds says being surrounded by people with disabiliti­es has given her confidence

Six days a week, Ellie gets up at 4.50am to train. That’s 16 to 18 hours of swimming a week, three gym sessions and a handful of yoga classes too. And while Ellie – who has won gold five times at the Paralympic­s – admits her training can be gruelling, she also says the benefits are huge for her. “Swimming clears my head, it’s my meditation. I love the feeling of being fit, and even once I’ve retired I’ll make sure I keep up with my fitness, not only for my body but for my mental health too.” Ellie – who has genetic disorder achondropl­asia – says being surrounded by inspiratio­nal people with disabiliti­es boosts her body confidence: “Being a dwarf means I have rolls on my legs, and even at my lowest weight they’ve never gone. I’m very conscious of those, but then I think, ‘Why should I be embarrasse­d when that’s me?’ I can’t change it and my body has given me so many achievemen­ts. Being around other Paralympia­ns has shown me that not everyone is exactly the same and everyone is incredible in their own way.”

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