The inside track: 8 questions with Ellie Robinson
original article by paralympics.org.uk
We caught up with Paralympic multi-medallist Ellie Robinson on being part of the team, her other surprising sporting passion and looking ahead to Tokyo 2020.
1) How did you get into swimming?
I learned to swim at the age of 4 and took part in every sport I could. Just before the London 2012 Paralympic Games, I went to a talent ID day, where I was told I had a talent for swimming. Due to my competitive nature and enthusiasm in sport, I joined Northampton Swimming Club when I was 11. Before the season started in September, I went to the Aquatics Centre in London, where I watched the ParalympicsGB athletes competing. The excitement surrounding the London Games was definitely a catalyst to the start of my swimming career.
2) What is the best thing about being a Paralympic athlete?
The best thing about being a Paralympic athlete is the platform to change perspectives surrounding disabilities. The growing interest around Paralympic sport is helping to achieve the integration of disabilities into everyday society. I’m grateful for the voice Paralympic sport has given me to speak as an athlete, not just someone with a disability – the professionalism and athleticism of Paralympic sport is lessening the need for labels of “able bodied” and “disabled”, to produce a true sense of equality.
3) What does being part of the ParalympicsGB team mean to you?
Being a part of ParalympicsGB for me is the mark of my professionalism as an athlete. Being able to wear the ParalympicsGB kit instils a great amount of pride in me. It’s one of the highest honours as an athlete, to know that you have been selected to represent the aspired to image of sport in your nation.
4) What memory do you cherish most from competing at Rio 2016?
My most cherished memory from Rio 2016 was walking onto poolside of the warm up pool each day. Despite only being 15 I felt at home in a competitive environment amongst the other athletes. I felt excited to be performing on a global stage and throughout the 3 weeks we were there, the anticipation I felt each time I stepped into the venue, never diminished in the slightest.
5) What are you looking forward to most about Tokyo 2020?
What I’m looking forward to about Tokyo, is taking the experience I gained in Rio and proving to myself how I have progressed as an athlete. There’s a great amount of sentimental value surrounding my experiences in 2016 and I hope to be able to reflect upon my time in Tokyo and see how I’ve grown as an athlete and a person.
6) How does the public support help you to perform at your best?
I feel public support has such a great impact on performance, and, not just on the day of competition. The people’s increasing interest of Paralympic sport and the media surrounding it, creates an atmosphere before the Games that even helps in training. The anticipation of the Paralympics drives me as an athlete, as I like to believe; the greater the platform, the greater the chance to impact on the world. Whether it’s with regard to the success of British athletes, new perspectives on disabilities, or even my own performance.
7) What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
The use of my spare time is pretty influenced by the F1 season! I have a group of friends with whom I watch the Grand Prix live, every time there’s a race, although maybe not Australia 🙂 I’m a sporadic reader, so I can go ages without reading a book and then suddenly become engrossed in one, but one thing I’ve always liked is writing, ever since I was young.
8) If you weren’t a swimmer, what sport would you do?
If I wasn’t a swimmer, I would’ve loved to have attempted karting, although, understandably the progression of disabled athletes in motorsport is somewhat behind that of other sports. However, as this is a hypothetical, I’ll still say karting/motorsport, as it’s something I’ve always wanted to try.