Eleanor Simmonds with Billy Pye

Hear how coach Billy has nurtured Eleanor's sporting talent.

The Portrait

Eleanor Simmonds with Billy Pye
Photographed by Finlay MacKay
1 December 2010, Wales National Pool, Swansea.

Eleanor Simmonds is the youngest ever individual Paralympic or Olympic gold medallist.  Aged thirteen she won the 100m and 400m freestyle swimming events in Beijing 2008.  Simmonds, who was born with achondroplasia (dwarfism) began swimming when she was aged five. She currently competes in multiple events, and is world champion and world record holder in four. Simmonds moved to Swansea in 2007 to train with Billy Pye. The former miner and award-winning Coach for British Disability Swimming was part of ParalympicsGB that enjoyed one of their most successful performances at a Paralympic Games.

‘She might have qualified, she might have gone, but she wouldn’t have achieved what she achieved in Beijing without Billy.’
Val Simmonds, Eleanor’s mother

© Finlay MacKay/National Portrait Gallery/BT Road to 2012