Relive the Games - a weekly look back at some of London 2012's most iconic momentsSubscribe
Grace Cullen 22 November 2012
Emotional Ellie overcomes her rival
Ellie Simmonds was the poster girl of the Games in a very literal sense, with her face adorning the side of Westfield Shopping Centre in Stratford, greeting everyone who arrived at the Paralympic Games.
Having been launched to superstardom four years earlier when she became Great Britain’s youngest ever gold medallist in Beijing, aged 13, by London 2012 Simmonds was accustomed to the fame.
Now 17, Simmonds appeared to be taking it all in her stride when she entered the Aquatics Centre to defend her 400m Freestyle title.
With a tense smile and a nervous wave to the fervent 15,000 strong crowd, she made her way to the starting blocks. Lining up beside her great rival and world record holder, Victoria Arlen, Simmonds took her position.
By the time the race started the crowd had reached fever pitch, many already on their feet. Simmonds and Arlen quickly broke away from the rest of the field, turning it into a two horse race.
It was Arlen who set the pace for the majority of the race, leading for 350m, yet it was Simmonds who turned first on the final 50m, just 0.08 seconds ahead. With the crowd roaring her home, Simmonds continued to accelerate, leaving her American rival in her wake. Finding from somewhere the energy she needed over the closing metres, Simmonds touched the wall in a massive five second world record.
Unsure whether to laugh or cry as she struggled to catch her breath, with the crowd erupting into hysteria all around her, the 17-year-old had confirmed her status as Queen of the Pool.