While most of us are already watching the London 2012 Olympics, Walsall’s double gold medal paralympian swimmer Eleanor Simmonds will be focusing on just one thing – being the best she can be.
Her life currently revolves around training and preparing for the competition – to the point where she is will soon be in the holding camp in Manchester with British Swimming before arriving at Olympic Village – and not long to go till the start of the Paralympic Games on 29 August.
During this time the Aldridge 17-year-old’s routine cannot, understandably, be disrupted. But her parents have agreed to let Walsall Council have an insight into their daughter’s thoughts and feelings throughout this exciting time.
The Council will be carrying regular updates on Eleanor’s preparation and progress on its special website at www.walsallfor2012.co.uk and plan to bring residents Eleanor’s reactions via her mum and dad throughout the Olympics and Paralympic Games.
Eleanor, who won gold medals in Beijing in 2008 in the 100m and 400m freestyle swimming events also set a new world record in the 400m freestyle.
She also received an MBE from the Queen in the New Years Honours List in 2009 and was the youngest person to receive this honour, also becoming the first swimmer to break a world record at the London Aquatics Centre in March 2012 in the 200m individual medley.
Eleanor was born with achondroplasia, commonly known as dwarfism.
Steve Simmonds said: “Eleanor sums everything up when she says “I just want to make sure that I’ve got to the end of my race being the best I can be.
“While she would obviously love to win more gold medals her main motivation is knowing she’s in peak condition and is pleased with her performance. And that’s all anyone can ask of themselves really.
“There is a great expectation of all the competitors this year as London is hosting the competitions and the British hopefuls are on their home soil.
“We are grateful that so many of Eleanor’s family, friends and supporters are able to attend the Paralympic Games – as are the families of all those taking part – because travelling to Beijing and Rio and places like that just isn’t possible for all.
“Eleanor says it will make a big difference to the atmosphere, knowing all your friends and family are actually in the crowd.
“There’s definitely a great enthusiasm now the games are in London and we’re all excited about the weeks to come.”