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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Amanda Whiting

Ellie Simmonds: Who is the Strictly Come Dancing 2022 contestant and what is she famous for?


It’s time to put on your dancing shoes... Strictly Come Dancing is back.

The hit BBC reality series has unveiled a whole new roster of contestants for 2022, including TV presenters, athletes, and pop stars.

You can check out the full line-up here.

Among the contestants competing for the Glitterball trophy this year is Ellie Simmonds. She is coupled up with Nikita Kuzmin.

But who is Simmonds, and what has she said about appearing on Strictly?

Simmonds, 27, is a five-time Paralympic champion swimmer, winning her first and second gold medals at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing when she was just 13. She won two additional golds at the 2012 London games and her final gold medal in Rio in 2016.

“To be asked to be part of the Strictly family is just so exciting and I cannot wait, it’s going to be so much fun,” Simmonds said. “I’m counting down the minutes until it starts; learning to dance, meeting my partner and everyone else involved in the show. Plus wearing the sequins and all that, it’s going to be a blast.”

Since retiring from swimming, Simmonds has gone on to make documentaries about dwarfism and disability for the BBC. This summer, ITV commissioned a project from Simmonds about adoption and disability.

Ellie Simmonds (BBC)

When the Paralympian was awarded at MBE at age 14, she was the youngest person to ever achieve the honour. In 2013, she was elevated to OBE.

On whether she’s excited about being “Strictly-fied” (essentially, covered in glitter), Simmonds said: “Oh, I am so excited! I’m used to so many years of being in the water, not caring really what I looked like, with wet hair, chlorine smelling skin, a tracksuit and no makeup!

“Whereas now to actually enter this world, it’s a whole new level with the hair, the makeup, everything! Bring it on!”

Strictly Come Dancing continues Saturday 24 September at 6.45pm on BBC One.

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