Queen of Everything: Ellie Simmonds
The Paralympian swimmer, 19, would be a globe-trotting queen whoâ€™d have David Beckham in her court and more sport in schools
Itâ€™d be great to be queen. It would be hard work â€“ the real Queen is always so busy meeting new people, isnâ€™t she? I first met the Queen when I received my MBE [in 2009], which was a great day. But I was lucky enough to meet her at the palace with Team GB after both the Beijing and London Paralympics, too. Sheâ€™s quite quiet, but lovely.
Iâ€™d party at the palace! Iâ€™d have a big do. Probably a barbecueÂ â€“ I love a barbecue â€“ but someone else would have to cook. Iâ€™d get a top designer to make me a dress. And Iâ€™d extend the weekend! One extra day.
I donâ€™t need a king. I hadÂ a crush on Justin Bieber whenÂ I was 12, but thereâ€™s no-one at the moment. Ryan Gosling is cool and David Beckham was nice to work with [on the Sainsburyâ€™s Active Kids campaign]. Heâ€™s lovely. He can be in my court, but Iâ€™d rule on my own. That way everything can be perfect and you can have it all your own way.
If I was queen Iâ€™d be cool with the attention. You donâ€™t think about being in the media spotlight when you start out
[in sports], but all the added extras, like doing The Great British Bake Off, come as bonuses â€“ especially as I have
a sweet tooth! But although winning BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year [in 2008] and getting an MBE [in 2009] were nice, itâ€™s myÂ swimming achievements Iâ€™m most proud of.Â Iâ€™m a swimmer â€“Â thatâ€™s all I am.
I want more sport, please!Â Sport in schools would be topÂ of my agenda. I loved PE at school. We were lucky to haveÂ a swimming pool at primary school. I was also on the rounders team, I did dance, football and horse riding. I want to try andÂ get as many kids as active as possible. And Iâ€™m so gladÂ the new national curriculumÂ in September has cooking as compulsory for kids aged five to 14. Iâ€™m all for a healthier lifestyle.
Iâ€™m proud to be British. Winning that first gold medal in London was my proudest moment. I was swimming against [American] Victoria Arlen and I thought, â€˜Right, Iâ€™ve just got to put my head down and go for itâ€™. Thereâ€™s such a feeling of relief when you realise youâ€™ve won. It all goes so fast, but to hear that home crowd in London roar and have all my friends and family there was amazing. I keep all my medals in a safe in the house. I donâ€™t get them out and look at them, but itâ€™s nice to know theyâ€™re there.
I love to explore. I went to Uganda with Sport Relief and it was so eye-opening. Travelling is definitely something Iâ€™d like to do more of in the future. New Yorkâ€™s on my bucket list â€“ itâ€™s just one of those places you have to visit.
I love what I do! My parents and my coach have always said if you donâ€™t enjoy it then you donâ€™t get the best out of it, so youâ€™ve just got to smile and take everything in. There will be that time in the future when I donâ€™t want to swim and when that happens Iâ€™ll retire â€“ but hopefully not for a while yet.
An Ellie Simmonds biopic would be fun. Iâ€™d like Jennifer Lawrence to play me. Or Melissa McCarthy. Sheâ€™s really funny.
My palace? I live in student halls!Â [Ellie is studying at Loughborough.] Iâ€™m in a sports block so Iâ€™m surrounded by people into the same things. Itâ€™s not all about partying. Iâ€™m in the pool for two hours every morning and for two hours every evening. I have to moisturise a lot because the chlorine can play havoc with your skin!
My parents were key to my success. They made suchÂ a sacrifice when I was 12Â â€“ me and my mum movedÂ to Swansea from our home in Aldridge [by Birmingham] so that I could be near a 50m pool and train with a great coach Billy Pye. We came home every weekend, but it was tough. When youâ€™re younger you donâ€™t think about it, but it was a big deal.
My influence. The Scottish Paralympian swimmer Mhairi Love inspired me. I remember watching her on TV at the Athens Paralympics in 2004. Weâ€™re in the same swimming category â€“ S6. I was about eight or nine and thinking,Â â€˜I want to do thatâ€™. Thatâ€™s whyÂ itâ€™s so lovely when someone tells me Iâ€™ve inspired them.