Ellie Simmonds will swap the blocks for the ballroom when she appears on the next series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing later this year.
The five-time Paralympic champion retired following her fourth Paralympic Games appearance at Tokyo 2020 last summer, having become an icon of British sport during a glittering 15-year career that also featured nine World Para Swimming Championships and 10 European titles, as well as an indefinable impact on para-sport in Britain and internationally.
From next month, though, Ellie will be focusing on nifty footwork on the dancefloor, rather than her race pace in the pool, after being the sixth celebrity contestant confirmed for the 2022 series of Strictly.
"Oh my gosh!! I’m literally bursting with excitement!! 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!" she said.
I can’t believe I’m writing this! I’m literally bursting with excitement!— Ellie Simmonds (@EllieSimmonds1) August 7, 2022
It’s been soooo hard keeping this secret as I’ve wanted to tell everyone…
I’m going on @bbcstrictly!
I’m a tad nervous too, well more than a tad… I’m absolutely petrified! But I can’t wait!!💙 pic.twitter.com/amIV3CNszu
"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. 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."
Other celebrities confirmed to be taking to the Strictly ballroom so far include actor Will Mellor, comedian Jayde Adams and TV presenter and actor Kym Marsh.
Ellie's appearance follows hot on the heels of Adam Peaty, who was eliminated sixth after some eye-catching performances on the 2021 series.