Strictly Come Dancing has burst back onto screens for its 20th series with Tess Daly and Claudia Winkleman back at the helm with the judges back on the panel casting their expert eye. And many viewers of the BBC One dance contest will begin placing their bets in to see who will win the Glitterball this year.
One of the hopeful dancers taking part in the televised competition this year is Paralympic swimming champion Ellie Simmonds.
The five-time Paralympic Games gold medalist also featured in her own documentary about Dwarfism - Ellie Simmonds: A World Without Dwarfism? for the BBC, following her retirement from professional swimming.
One of Ellie's greatest feats includes becoming the youngest British athlete at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing at the age of 13, where she won gold in the 100m and 400m freestyle events. She later picked up more golds at the 2012 London Games and the 2016 Rio Games, and has 10 World Championship titles.
Writing about her involvement in this year's dancing competition, the 27-year-old said: "Oh my gosh! I’m literally bursting with excitement!" She added: "It’s been soooo hard keeping this secret as I’ve wanted to tell everyone. I’m going on Strictly Come Dancing!
"I’m a tad nervous too, well more than a tad… I’m absolutely petrified! 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. 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."
She continued: "I’ve been watching Strictly from as far back as I can remember; it’s a traditional lead up to Christmas with my family and it’s a genuine privilege to be part of it."
Ellie is also a patron of the Dwarf Sports Association UK and noted that the charity "supports people of short stature and helps them get into sport". To add to her long list of achievements, she was also appointed to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee Board.
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