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Wales Online
Wales Online
Kathryn Williams

Why BBC Strictly's Ellie Simmonds was in Wales for her launch video

When Strictly Come Dancing starts you know it's time to countdown to Christmas but with the 2022 launch show we were treated to a Welsh-made introduction video thanks to Paralympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds. The five-time Paralympic gold medallist spent much of her teenage years in Swansea after moving there from Walsall where she was born.

As part of the launch show each celeb filmed an introduction video during which they met their professional dance partner where Ellie brilliantly says 'yes, I'm small, but I can do everything anyone else can, adding she was excited about her Strictly journey. Ellie and her partner Nikita Kuzman met up right after Ellie swam out of the sea and explained that the happiest days of her life were spent in Wales. They then swam together and practised a few moves.

The 27-year-old, who was born with achondroplasia dwarfism, relocated to the city at 11 years old to take advantage of its world-class swimming pool where she could train and it paid off. On top of the five Paralympic golds Ellie also has 10 World Championship golds, and seven European championship golds. Her move to Swansea also saw her train under coach Billy Pye.

Read more: Strictly 2022 launch show: Live updates as celebrity pairings confirmed

She lived at Swansea Marina and attended Olchfa Comprehensive School and was partial to a spot of Joe's ice cream she said in an interview with WalesOnline back in 2015. “I lived in Swansea Marina and was a minute’s walk from the beach. I used to love going to Mumbles and visiting Gower with its fantastic beaches like Langland, Oxwich, and Caswell.

“I really enjoyed my time in Olchfa Comprehensive and found Swansea to be a friendly place and everyone was really supportive of me but the world has to move on. I was back in Swansea recently and visited Mumbles and went to Verdi’s cafe on the seafront. It was wonderful in the warm weather and I also went for walks on the Gower peninsula where the beaches are fantastic.

“Although I have to follow a strict diet because of my training we are allowed treats and I love Joe’s ice cream which you get in Swansea and I’m also quite taken by the ice cream made in Verdi’s cafe in Mumbles... but I have to be careful only to have an ice cream now and then."

Now an OBE, Ellie was awarded an honorary degree by Swansea University in 2018 and also had her gold-painted post box in the city after London 2012. The sports star retired from the sport after the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

Strictly Come Dancing continues tomorrow at 6.45pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.


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