British swimmer Ellie Robinson – a Paralympic gold and bronze medallist in Rio, aged 15 – has announced her retirement from the sport.
The 20-year-old celebrated her fifth-place finish at the Tokyo Paralympics as a “story of triumph not defeat” in a powerful post-race interview.
She revealed the struggle she had gone through just to get to the postponed 2020 Games.
She missed out on a bronze by just a quarter of a second in Tokyo.
On her retirement, Robinson said: “Where do I begin? How about I just say… Swimming, you’ve served me well. Although your door may be closing, it will never be locked. I will forever be peering through to admire the beauty behind you.
“We’ve not always got on well. We’ve clashed countless times – but swimming, I can happily extend a hand and say ‘thank you. It was all part of your plan in the end. I should have never doubted you’.”
Robinson was diagnosed with Perthes disease in her right hip in 2012 – a condition affecting the hip joint in children – and revealed how arthritis in the joint left her unable to swim between November 2020 and the World Para Swimming European Open Championships in May this year.
Her interview after her fifth-place finish in Tokyo – where she emotionally detailed her struggles just to make the Games – went viral on social media.
Robinson had stopped training after her diagnosis in 2012, but returned to the pool in 2014, making her international debut for Great Britain a year later.
She won three bronze medals and a silver in the 2016 European championships before going on to win the gold in the S6 butterfly in Rio and a bronze in the S6 100m freestyle.
British Para-Swimming national performance director Chris Furber said: “It has been a pleasure to play a part in Ellie’s career over the past six years and watch on at all she has achieved, beginning with a British record-setting display at the National Paralympic Day event in London back in 2015.
“There is no doubt that, through her performances at two Paralympic Games and other major international competition, she has helped to promote para-swimming and also raise the profile of para-sport more generally.
“We wish her every success for the future and look forward to seeing what the next chapter holds for Ellie Robinson.”