Eight-time Paralympic medalist Ellie Simmonds, who represents Great Britain, is retiring after the Tokyo Paralympic Games, she said on Thursday.
Simmonds, 26, revealed her decision after the women’s S6 400-meter freestyle final, her last race of the Games (she was initially disqualified for not touching the wall on one of her turns but was later reinstated).
“I think this [Paralympics] is going be my last,” she told U.K. broadcaster Channel 4 Sport in a tearful post-race interview.
Simmonds competed in four straight Paralympics: Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020. She earned two gold medals in 2008 — in the S6 100- and 400-meter free — won the 400 again in London and added the 200 IM, then won the 200 IM again in Rio. She took silver in the 100 free and bronze in the 50 in London and bronze in the 400 in Rio.
“As a 9-year-old watching Athens 2004, to think as a kid then I would not just go to one Games but to four Games, go to a home Paralympics, come away with eight Paralympic medals and being part of that Paralympic movement as well,” Simmonds said.
Her highest finish in Tokyo was fourth in the SB6 100 breaststroke. She served as one of Britain’s two flagbearers during the Opening Ceremony alongside archer John Stubbs.
“I am leaving it at the right time. I love it. I’ve had a wonderful competition and I’ve loved every minute of it,” Simmonds added.
Outside of her Olympic medals, Simmonds earned 14 world titles and 22 medals overall. She was named the 2008 BBC Young Sports Personality of the year, and in 2009, became the youngest person ever — at age 14 — to be appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). She was elevated to Officer (OBE) in 2013.