Sports Personality 2012: Ellie Simmonds - "The best thing about it all is being a role model"
18-year-old Ellie Simmonds is the proud winner of four Paralympic swimming golds
"I’ve never really thought of myself as disabled. I’m just a normal person, but a bit smaller than everyone else. I like studying, and going out with my friends, and I really want to get a good job when I’m older.
"I did all the normal girl things when I was younger, including pony riding and ballet dancing – but when it came to swimming, I just tried really hard to keep up with my friends in the pool.
"I don’t think of myself as that different. I’m just the same inside. I once auditioned for the role of a giant in the school play. I don’t know whether the teachers found it as funny as I did. I thought it was hysterical!
"I think the best thing about the Games was that people saw beyond our disabilities. It was just brilliant, amazing. I loved it all. I was a bit young to take it all in when I competed in Beijing in 2008 [at 13 becoming the youngest-ever Briton to win an individual gold], but this time I enjoyed every minute. The support was incredible, and people recognise me wherever I go now. I’m so proud to be a Paralympian and to have been part of it and around so many great people.
"The most important thing that came out of the Games was the whole legacy thing. I hope that every child with a disability realises that he or she can still do sport. I’d love the next generation of disabled kids to take it for granted that they can come and watch disability sport, and join in. That would be great.
"I’m thrilled to be on the shortlist for Sports Personality. It’s just really amazing to be thought of as one of the people who could win. I’m honoured to be on the list. It’s been such an amazing year for sport, with the Olympics and Paralympics and lots of other great sporting moments, too.
"Winning would be a real dream, but there are some amazing names on the list, I’m just flattered to have my name alongside theirs. The best thing about it all is being a role model and inspiring people in Paralympic sport. I think you do that by being the best you can be."
Gold in the 200m SM6 individual medley and 400m S6 freestyle, silver in the 100m S6 freestyle and bronze in the 50m S6 freestyle, London Paralympics
What the commentator said
"It's surely another gold, a great, great gold for Ellie Simmonds! She is the Queen of the Pool once again!"
Who would be your Sports Personality?
"I would pick Mo Farah, for his sheer determination and fantastic achievement of pulling off the double gold."
Sports Personality of the Year is on 16 December at 7:30pm on BBC