As the UK celebrates the most successful ever Paralympic Games, swimming supremo Ellie Simmonds tells Channel 4 News of the "massive buzz" of winning four medals and her hopes to inspire others.
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As the Paralympic Games draws to a close, one competitor has captured the hearts of the nation more than others.
Ellie Simmonds won four medals during the Games, at the tender age of 17.
Speaking to Channel 4 News, she said: "For me to walk out to the crowd, it was all so exciting - it definitely gave me a massive buzz, and it definitely was a big advantage.
"It's really exciting to get the Paralympic sport out there and inspire the next generation - I remember watching the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games that inspired me to want to got to a Paralympic Games.
People shouldn't think 'I'm not normal, I've got a disability. Overcome that, go out there...and achieve something. Ellie Simmonds
"Hopefully people watch us and get inspired to get into sport or maybe to be the next athlete."
On Saturday, the 4ft 1ins girl from Walsall won silver in the S6 100m freestyle final, having already won gold in the SM6 200m medley and the S6 400m freestyle as well as bronze in the S6 50m freestyle.
Since her first gold medal, television figures for the Paralympics have soared. Her victory last Saturday was watched by 2.9m viewers.
Five days later, 5.5m people tuned in to see David Weir win the 800m gold, and 6.7m people watched Johnnie Peacock beat 'blade-runner' Oscar Pistorius in the 100m.
A poll carried out by Channel 4 earlier this showed that two thirds of the 2,000 people surveyed said the extensive coverage has had a good impact on their perceptions towards people with disabilities and disabled sport.
Ellie, who suffers from dwarfism, said she does not want the Games to end, adding that alongsider her fellow Paralympians, she feels no different to able-bodied Olympians.
She said: "We're athletes, we train as hard as the Olympians, we are dedicated, we enjoy it all. If you've got a disabilty you're normal, it's just something that's different.'
"I think people shouldn't think 'I'm not normal, I've got a disability. Overcome that, go out there and enjoy your life and achieve something.'
08 September 2012
07 September 2012
08 September 2012