Tag Archives: swimmer

Fran Halsall vows to bounce back in Rio – Laura Williamson

I'll make waves in Rio, vows Halsall after flopping at home Olympics

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UPDATED:

22:09 GMT, 30 December 2012

Fran Halsall has made an important New Year’s resolution. The British swimmer never again wants to feel the way she did in the summer of 2012 after finishing the Olympic Games without a medal.

She has written it all down, just in case she ever needs a reminder, because Halsall is determined she will never feel like that again; so low she did not attend the post-Games parade because she ‘didn’t think she should enjoy it’.

While 2012 was an unforgettable year of sport for so many, there are those for whom 2013 and beyond promises far better things.

Gutted: Fran Halsall struggled to perform at the London Olympics

Gutted: Fran Halsall struggled to perform at the London Olympics

More from Laura Williamson…

Laura Williamson: Farewell to Plucky Brit syndrome, and good riddance
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Laura Williamson: Wake up Gary, or Match of the Day's old boys' club may close for good
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Laura Williamson: Booth and Co aim to end golf's old school traditions
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Laura Williamson: I won't be fighting in Rio but you could as taekwondo seeks new stars
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Laura Williamson: Dangerous message that strong isn't sexy for women
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Laura Williamson: As Sportsmail enters the ring with an Olympic star, Jonas shows being a warrior woman is worth fighting for
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Laura Williamson: Kids have no chance when vile chants are treated like nursery rhymes
06/11/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

A silver medal in the 50-metre freestyle at the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul earlier this month ‘was never going to make up for the Olympics’, but it has helped Halsall get her spark back. She has a new coach — James Gibson, who guided France’s Florent Manaudou to Olympic gold in the men’s 50m freestyle in London. But, most importantly of all, her confidence has returned.

‘Knowing I’m still a fast swimmer feels really good,’ she says. ‘I gave myself a little pat on the back, if you like. I’m really happy.

‘It took me a couple of months to get over the Olympics. There was a lot of upset and blame; of thinking I’m not good enough. I couldn’t deal with the fact I wasn’t good enough and it wasn’t a very nice feeling.

‘But I took ownership of it and I swam fast again. That was all me. It’s not an Olympic medal but I had to differentiate between Fran the swimmer and the person. You can’t live your life like that.’

Halsall was tipped to star in the pool at London 2012 but did not win a medal in any of her five events. She was not the only one to disappoint, of course: Britain’s swimming team came away with only a silver and two bronze medals at their home Games and have lost 4million of funding as a result.

British Swimming conducted a review into what went wrong in London, which largely blamed the leadership of coaches and the timing of the national trials, which were held 13 weeks before the Games in March.

Bouncing back: Halsall has vowed to return to form for Rio in four years

Bouncing back: Halsall has vowed to return to form for Rio in four years

Head coach Dennis Pursley and performance director Michael Scott also quit, prompting Rebecca Adlington to call the situation ‘an absolute mess’.

Halsall, though, has conducted her ‘own review’ and has a much simpler explanation: she over-trained. Working under Ben Titley, who has since moved to Canada, at Loughborough University, she says she was an ‘Olympic keeno’.

Halsall picked up a shoulder injury in mid-May, which kept her out of the pool for ‘a few weeks’.

‘Trials weren’t the problem,’ adds Halsall. ‘I have always swum faster in the summer: this was the first year I didn’t. You have to swim fast for the trials, wherever you put them.

Back on track: Halsall in Turkey

Back on track: Halsall in Turkey

‘The issue for me was I did too much. I was an Olympic keeno. I probably overdid it and ended up picking up an injury. I tried to do more than I had ever done before.

‘I didn’t want to talk about my shoulder problem (before the Games). It’s an excuse and I didn’t want that. My focus was on swimming as fast as I could and I didn’t want to have that distraction. I still fought for every 10th of a second in every race.’

Halsall, though, is already a veteran of two Olympic Games, despite being only 22 years old.

She is determined not to make the same mistakes third time around.

‘I’m not too old just yet,’ she says. ‘I’m looking forward to Rio in four years’ time.’

Fran Halsall uses Multipower Sportsfood: www.multipower.co.uk

What they said

It's little wonder David Weir described the New Year Honours list as ‘a bit strange’ after Sarah Storey became a Dame but Weir, who also won four Paralympic gold medals in London, was given a CBE.

‘Sometimes it seems that Paralympians have to win lots and lots of medals to get a damehood or a knighthood,’ Weir told the Daily Telegraph.

Here's what I've been doing this week

Chugged around the country for the feast of festive football. Clubs might whinge about fixture congestion, but I love the tradition of it all. It works in other sports, too: just look at the record 82,000 people at Twickenham for Saracens’ win against Harlequins on Saturday.

Watched Superstars and revelled in the sheer naffness and rain-sodden Britishness of it all. I can cope with only having shooter Peter Wilson on my television screen every four years, but I enjoyed Mo Farah’s attempts at kayaking, the Brownlee brothers’ rivalry and being proved wrong by Helen Glover’s prowess on the track. And there was I thinking rowers are not always the most co-ordinated of athletes on dry land.

Back on our screens: Olympians took part in the BBC show Superstars

Back on our screens: Olympians took part in the BBC show Superstars

According to Fulham’s programme for their 1-1 draw with Southampton, I ‘swooned’ when I wrote about Dimitar Berbatov’s ‘style and swagger’ in his side’s 2-1 victory against Newcastle this month. That made me laugh, but not as much as the striker’s handwritten ‘Keep Calm and Pass Me the Ball’ T-shirt, which suggested Berbatov is not averse to ‘swooning’ about himself, either.

Performance of the week

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert continues to predict that ‘Aston Villa will be fine’ despite his side suffering a 15-0 deficit over the festive period. That’s some crystal ball he got for Christmas.

Sarah Story named Dame in New Year Honours List

Fairy Storey! Dame Sarah and Weirwolf head list of Paralympic heroes honoured

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 29 December 2012

Sarah Storey won Great Britain's first gold medal of a memorable Paralympic Games and has now completed a stunning 2012 by being named a Dame in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Storey, like David Weir, finished with four gold medals from four events and carried the Union Flag at the closing ceremony along with the wheelchair racer, who has been awarded a CBE.

Scroll down for a full list of Paralympic Honours

Stars: Sarah Storey (above) has been named a Dame while David Weir (below) has been awarded a CBE

Stars: Sarah Storey (above) has been named a Dame while David Weir (below) has been awarded a CBE

David Weir celebrates winning Gold during the Men's 800m - T54 Final

Storey has been honoured for a Paralympic career which began as a 14-year-old swimmer in Barcelona in 1992 and featured four Games in the pool before she switched to the bike ahead of the Beijing Games in 2008.

In London, her sixth Games, the 35-year-old from Disley, Cheshire, took her tally to 11 Paralympic gold medals, equalling former wheelchair racer Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson's haul.

Storey and Weir were Britain's most prolific winners at the Paralympics as the hosts won 34 gold and 120 medals in all, while the nation marvelled at the athletes' ability, forgetting the impairment of an individual and concentrating on the sport.

'Wow, I am speechless but incredibly honoured and extremely proud to be able to accept the DBE,' said Storey, who recently announced she was pregnant.

Laden: Storey won four golds in London

Laden: Storey won four golds in London

'I never expected any additional awards after my sporting success.

'I love competing for my country and that is a huge honour in itself.

'Now to be a dame is beyond anything I could have ever imagined and I cannot thank my family, friends, coaches and support staff over all the years enough for their devotion in helping me to follow the path of becoming the best athlete I can possibly be.'

Weir won the last home gold of a memorable summer with victory in the marathon on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

The 33-year-old from Wallington, Surrey, led the athletics team to a series of stirring triumphs, including for amputee sprinter Jonnie Peacock, who won the blue riband event of the Games, the T44 100metres, ahead of the likes of Oscar Pistorius.

Peacock is awarded an MBE, as are fellow athletes Richard Whitehead, Aled Davies, Mickey Bushell, Hannah Cockroft, Aled Davies and Josie Pearson, who all won Paralympic gold to send a capacity 80,000 Olympic Stadium crowd into raptures.

Swimmer Ellie Simmonds was once again the darling of the Games, dealing with the expectation and her image staring down on all entering the Olympic Park from the Westfield Shopping Centre, by taking two titles before her 18th birthday, four years after two wins as a 13-year-old.

Simmonds is awarded an OBE, an honour also bestowed upon Sophie Christiansen, who won three equestrian gold medals in Greenwich.

She said: 'It's been a great honour to be included in the list which caps an amazing year for me personally and for British sport.'

Natasha Baker won two para-equestrian titles and is awarded an MBE along with Christiansen's team-mates in the team championship Deborah Criddle and Sophie Wells.

Ten-time Paralympic champion Lee
Pearson, the fourth member of the winning quartet, did not receive an
honour, having been made an MBE following the 2008 Games.

Sealed with a kiss: Ellie Simmonds (above) and Jonnie Peacock (below) were also among the gold medals

Sealed with a kiss: Ellie Simmonds (above) and Jonnie Peacock (below) were also among the gold medals

Jonnie Peacock

Storey's husband Barney also did not make the list, despite claiming his third Paralympic title in London.

His tandem partner Neil Fachie was awarded an MBE, as was tandem pilot rider Craig MacLean, who won an Olympic medal in Sydney in 2000 and piloted Anthony Kappes to gold in London.
Like Barney Storey, Kappes was not honoured this time around.

Road cyclist David Stone won road race gold at Brands Hatch, but also missed out on a fresh honour, having already been made an MBE.

All other London 2012 gold medal winners were honoured, with boccia player Nigel Murray given an MBE for his long and distinguished career which has featured two Paralympic titles and bronze in London.

PARALYMPIC ATHLETES HONOURED

DAME

Sarah Storey – cycling

CBE

David Weir – athletics

OBE

Sophie Christiansen – equestrian

Ellie Simmonds – swimming

MBE

Jessica-Jane Applegate – athletics
Natasha Baker – equestrian
Danielle Brown – archery
Mickey Bushell – athletics

Hannah Cockroft – athletics
Mark Colbourne – cycling
Josef Craig – swimming
Deborah Criddle – equestrian
Aled Davies – athleticsNeil Fachie – cycling
Jonathan Fox – swimming
Heather Frederiksen – swimming
Oliver Hynd – swimming
Helena Lucas – sailing
Craig MacLean – cycling
Nigel Murray – boccia
Jonnie Peacock – athletics
Josie Pearson – athletics
Pam Relph – rowing
Naomi Riches – rowing
James Roe – rowing
David Smith – rowing
Lily van den Broecke – rowing
Sophie Wells – equestrian
Richard Whitehead – athletics

Hannah Miley earns second medal at World Short-Course Championships

Miley earns second medal at World Short-Course Championships

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UPDATED:

19:12 GMT, 15 December 2012

Medal winner: Hannah Miley earned a bronze to go with her gold

Medal winner: Hannah Miley earned a bronze to go with her gold

Hannah Miley claimed her second medal of the World Short-Course Championships when she was third in the 200 metres individual medley in Istanbul.

The 23-year-old won gold in her specialist 400m event on the first night of competition, breaking her own European record in the process.

The Garioch swimmer was fourth with
50m to go tonight but she managed to force her way into the podium
places to touch in two minutes 07.12 seconds.

It was Great Britain's fourth medal of the five-day competition in Turkey, which will conclude on Sunday.

Miley, seventh in this event at the Olympics, said: 'I am really, really happy with that. It has given me another boost of confidence and motivation for the next part of the season.'

In the other final in which Britain competed, the women's 4x100m freestyle relay finished eighth.

The quartet comprising Rebecca
Turner, Lizzie Simmonds, Eleanor Faulkner and Fran Halsall had qualified
seventh and they were 0.03secs slower tonight in a race won by the
United States.

Revealed: The first trailer of London 2012 Olympics official film, First

Revealed: Trailer of London 2012 Games official film which tracks progress of 12 first-time Olympians

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UPDATED:

20:59 GMT, 14 November 2012

The official London 2012 Olympics film, First, has released its trailer ahead of the documentary's debut cinema screening later this month.

The film follows 12 first-time Olympians and their bids to take gold in the capital this summer.

Team GB's double gold medal-winning cyclist Laura Trott is among those featured in the documentary.

Scroll down to watch the trailer of First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott (centre) is followed in the film, First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott (centre) is followed in the film, First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott is followed in the film, First

Featured: The progress of double gold medal-winning Team GB cyclist Laura Trott is followed in the film, First

Trott was a revelation in the velodrome as she won the women's Omnium and was a member of Britain's successful team pursuit outfit along with Dani King and Joanna Rowsell.

Other athletes who appear in the film include USA swimmer Missy Franklin and Kenyan 800m runner David Rudisha, tracking their triumphs at the London Games.

Exceptional: The film tracks the likes of Kenyan David Rudisha, and eleven other first-time Olympians

Exceptional: The film tracks the likes of Kenyan David Rudisha, and eleven other first-time Olympians

Golden girl: The USA's Missy Franklin won four gold medals at the 2012 Games

Golden girl: The USA's Missy Franklin won four gold medals at the 2012 Games

Franklin, 17, dominated the swimming events in her first Olympics and won four gold medals and a bronze in the water.

Rudisha ran a near-perfect sprint in the final of the 800m. He broke the world record in a pulsating race and became the first ever man to run his event in under 1min 41secs.

The film will screen in cinemas on Friday November 23 before becoming available on DVD and Blu-ray and digital download on November 26.

VIDEO: Official trailer of First

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Ian Thorpe suffered crippling depression through career

Swimming legend Thorpe afflicted by 'crippling depression' through career

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UPDATED:

08:37 GMT, 13 October 2012

Australian swimming great Ian Thorpe has opened up about living with 'crippling depression' throughout his career.

In excerpts from an upcoming biography, the five-time Olympic champion has revealed the illness was so bad at times he thought of suicide.

The 30-year-old said there were times in his life that made him 'shudder' at what he might have done as he planned potential places to end his life, although he was quick to add he is still uncertain whether he could have gone through with it.

Admission: Ian Thorpe says he has suffered from depression

Admission: Ian Thorpe says he has suffered from depression

And Thorpe – one of Australia's most recognised sports people – also revealed that at some of the worst times he turned to alcohol in a bid to quell the thoughts running about his head.

'It was the only way I could get to sleep,' revealed Thorpe in an extract from his upcoming book This Is Me: The Autobiography.

'It didn't happen every night, but there were numerous occasions, particularly between 2002 and 2004 as I trained to defend my Olympic titles in Athens, that I abused myself this way – always alone and in a mist of disgrace.'

Thorpe said he was able to hide the effects of alcohol from team-mates and coaches and continued to enjoy one of the best periods of his career, despite his private battle with depression.

Disguise: Thorpe felt he could hide the truth from his colleagues

Disguise: Thorpe felt he could hide the truth from his colleagues

The swimmer said he also felt the need to stay silent about his depression, thinking it was a 'character flaw'.

As a result he has never spoken about it to his parents.

'Not even my family is aware that I've spent a lot of my life battling what I can only describe as a crippling depression,' he wrote.

'Now I realise it's time to be open.

'I need to talk to them about it…I know how Mum will react; she'll cry and ask me why I didn't tell her and then she'll tell me how proud she is that I've finally talked about it.

'Dad is different. I'm not sure how he'll react. I know it'll take time for him to come to terms with it and how it fits in with his religious beliefs.

'I hope it does because family means a lot to me.'

Henry Winter completes River Tyne swim after losing bet

Cold in there, Henry Journalist Winter completes Tyne swim after losing bet

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UPDATED:

16:17 GMT, 7 October 2012

Football journalist Henry Winter braved the River Tyne in Newcastle on Sunday after losing a bet over the future of Alan Pardew.

When Pardew signed a five-year contract with Newcastle in 2010, Winter predicted that he would not see out the deal.

However, Pardew agreed a whopping eight-year deal last week and now the reporter has kept his side of the bet.

Water way to spend a Sunday: Henry Winter swims the Tyne

Water way to spend a Sunday: Henry Winter swims the Tyne

All smiles: Winter celebrates after swimming the River Tyne in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

All smiles: Winter celebrates after swimming the River Tyne in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

The Daily Telegraph man completed his swim, raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Winter, who swam with experienced open water competitor Tony Greener, said afterwards: 'The first two thirds were a doddle and I thought 'this is OK, a nice gentle paddle across the Tyne. But then suddenly the current hit and it was like the fast lane of the motorway.

'I could actually feel myself being dragged along and I was fortunate to have an experienced swimmer alongside me in Tony Greener. In fact, at one point I think I grabbed Tony's toe.'

Referring to the late Robson, who set up the cancer charity bearing his name prior to his death in 2009, Winter said: 'He was simply one of the greatest managers this country has produced and a great man.'

I've done it: Winter with experienced open water swimmer Tony Greener

I've done it: Winter with experienced open water swimmer Tony Greener

Relief, Henry Winter smiles after completing his swim

Relief, Henry Winter smiles after completing his swim

At the end, Winter was wrapped in a
Newcastle towel and handed a note from Pardew, which read: 'Henry,
you're a man of your word and congratulations. I can't imagine how cold
it was in the Tyne today but rest assured we'll give you a warm welcome
when you arrive at the stadium later.

'What's more, well done for raising
money to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. It's a superb charity
that's close to all our hearts here at Newcastle.'

Mr Winter said: 'I thought it was a class act of Alan Pardew to send me a congratulatory note and a club towel. He was obviously confident I'd make it because he sent it to the Gateshead side of the river.'

Ellie Simmonds redefines normal – Laura Williamson

Thanks to our Ellie, 'normal' has been redefined

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 16 September 2012

With her fears about singeing her hair when she extinguished the Paralympic flame still fresh, Ellie Simmonds walked into a secondary school in Chiswick, west London, on Friday morning to address an assembly of 14 and 15-year-olds.

They whooped, cheered and clapped as the quadruple Paralympic gold medallist, who won two golds, a silver and bronze in London, took a seat on the stage and answered questions about being a swimmer; being an athlete. One word dominated her responses: ‘normal’.

‘I’m a teenager like you,’ said the 17-year-old. ‘I go to school. I do normal stuff, too: go to the cinema and go shopping with my friends. But whereas you can stay up until 11pm I can probably only last until nine because I’m up so early the next day for training. I’m just normal, too.’

Star: Ellie Simmonds addressed school children after her Paralympic success

Star: Ellie Simmonds addressed school children after her Paralympic success

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Laura Williamson: It's time to show you really care about women's football
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Laura Williamson: Goodbye and good riddance to Plucky Britannia
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Laura Williamson: Success of Britain's wonder women have made it the girlie Games
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Laura Williamson: We're in tune but we need to get on song too
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Laura Williamson: Oh boy, it's tough for Faye to give up at top of her game
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The two gold medals hanging around Simmonds’ neck singled her out as someone quite extraordinary. ‘Normal’ in Ellie-speak doesn’t mean average, that’s for sure. But the normality to which she was referring was not her sport, the 18 hours a week she has spent in a pool doing 24 100-metre repetitions to hone that astonishing freestyle speed. It was her disability, the achondroplasia she was born with which means she is only 4ft 1in tall.

After the Paralympic Games in London, you feel this is no longer what defines Simmonds. ‘I think it has changed things,’ she said. ‘We’re all normal people, Olympians and Paralympians, but we just do sport as well and we’re all very talented. I think this is the only Paralympics that has inspired kids to see that, which is why it’s so important to carry on the legacy.’

Simmonds seems to have been around so long it was easy to forget she was addressing a room of her peers as she launched Sainsbury’s Active Kids for All Scheme, which aims to ensure the inclusion of disabled children in sport in mainstream schools.

Kids like Ellie, whose parents no longer have to ferry her between home in Aldridge, in the west Midlands, and Swansea, where she goes to school and lives from Monday to Saturday afternoon. ‘Now I’ve passed my driving test I can do it myself,’ she said. Simmonds listens to Eminem’s Lose Yourself before she competes and has been saving for an iPad as a post-Games treat.

Heroes welcome: Simmonds took part in the athletes' parade last week

Heroes welcome: Simmonds took part in the athletes' parade last week

She hopes there will be a ‘trip to New York or Australia’ in store, too.

She will carry on swimming at least until Rio de Janeiro in 2016 but after that ‘I enjoy baking so maybe I could work in a patisserie,’ she said. ‘I love the opportunities that I’ve had because I’m a swimmer and I’ve achieved, but I don’t see myself as a celebrity, definitely not.

‘It’s going to be weird going back to normality, back to school, though.

‘I’m doing two A Levels — History and World Development. It’s good to not just be a swimmer but to be a normal person, too.’

There’s that word again. You get the feeling its meaning has changed forever.

PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK

Andy Murray’s US Open win on Tuesday morning UK time provided the most stunning end to an unforgettable British summer of sport. He is now the player the big three must fear. But someone might want to tell Murray the Fred Perry questions won’t go away just yet: a certain grass-court tournament next June might reignite the ‘last Briton since….’ tedium. Sorry, Andy, enjoy a well-earned break from it while you can.

Main man: Andy Murray ended Britain's wait for a male Grand Slam winner

Main man: Andy Murray ended Britain's wait for a male Grand Slam winner

…AND THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN DOING THIS WEEK

I will never forget the sight of a man wearing a Liverpool scarf walking down my street on Wednesday afternoon and seeing strangers stopping to shake his hand. ‘The Truth’ was crucial for the friends and families of the 96 innocent victims of Hillsborough but it was also so, so important for the city of Liverpool — and anyone with Scouse blood in their veins.

Listening to Chris Holmes, director of Paralympic integration at LOCOG and nine-time Paralympic swimming champion, praising the unprecedented coverage the Games received. ‘We had every front page on the first and second day and every front page — bar one — on the third day. And that was left to Cheryl Cole. I’m not sure what event she was competing in, mind you.’

Wondering if there can be anything more vacuous than being told to shake someone’s hand. Let’s just scrap the whole charade and get on with the game. A sporting handshake is not one of introduction, anyway — it should be about providing closure at the end of a contest.

Snub: Anton Ferdinand refused to shake John Terry's hand at QPR

Snub: Anton Ferdinand refused to shake John Terry's hand at QPR

THEY SAID WHAT

Maria Miller, the new Culture Secretary, sent a letter to Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC, and other broadcasters bemoaning the ‘woeful under-representation’ of women’s sport on television. This is something that needs to be addressed as part of the London 2012 legacy, but I fear Mrs Miller, who also happens to be the Equalities Minister, may not be the most avid sports watcher in the House of Commons.

She obviously didn’t watch any of the Women’s British Open on BBC Two last week or the Athletes’ Parade on Monday or any of the action from the Great North Run and CityGames.

In fact, her letter came after a week in which sportswomen were on BBC screens for nearly 16 hours — and it would have been even more had the weather played ball at Hoylake.

London 2012 Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds sets world record in 200m individual medley

Simmonds produces another stunner with new world record in 200m individual medley

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UPDATED:

11:00 GMT, 3 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds underlined why she is one of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympics as she shocked herself with a new world record in the heats of the SM6 200 metres individual medley.

The 17-year-old has already set a new world mark in the S6 400m freestyle en route to a successful defence of her Paralympic title on Saturday.

On Monday morning she produced a blistering freestyle leg to make her rivals appear as if they were treading water to touch in three minutes 06.97 seconds, 1.13secs inside her own world mark from March when she became the first swimmer to set a global record in the Aquatics Centre.

Ell of a swim: Ellie Simmonds celebrates after setting a new world record in the SM6 200m individual medley

Ell of a swim: Ellie Simmonds celebrates after setting a new world record in the SM6 200m individual medley

The Swansea-based swimmer was completely taken aback and a second gold medal is a clear possibility.

Simmonds said: 'I wasn't going for a world record, I was actually going for the Paralympic record but I was just going in there to feel the stroke.

'When I walk out the crowd is amazing, that definitely gives me a big buzz. I just can't wait to race tonight.

Star of the show: British swimmer Simmonds has been superb in the pool

Star of the show: British swimmer Simmonds has been superb in the pool

'I am quite shocked with that time. When I was at the finish I couldn't actually see what (the time) was, I had to ask someone.

'I'm really pleased with a two-second PB in the heats. It's good to be on top form at the biggest Paralympic Games of my life.'

London Paralympics 2012: Jessica-Jane Applegate wins S14 200m freestyle gold

Swimmer Applegate reaps gold reward for superb S14 200m freestyle performance

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UPDATED:

18:01 GMT, 2 September 2012

Jessica-Jane Applegate swam a perfectly controlled race to claim ParalympicsGB's third gold medal in the pool with victory in the S14 200 metres freestyle.

Applegate, who turned 16 less than a fortnight ago, had qualified fastest after breaking her own British record in the morning.

On Sunday night she was fourth at the halfway stage before making a move on the third length and was in the bronze medal position with 50m to go.

Great race: Jessica-Jane Applegate (left) of Great Britain celebrates with silver medallist Taylor Corry of Australia

Great race: Jessica-Jane Applegate (left) of Great Britain celebrates with silver medallist Taylor Corry of Australia

The City of Norwich swimmer then produced a storming final length to overhaul her rivals and was pulling further ahead when she touched in two minutes 12.63 seconds.

Applegate had an operation on her foot a month ago putting her participation in doubt. Not only did she compete but her time was a Paralympic record.

'I'm just so happy,' she told Channel 4. 'It means so much. I just want to thank my mum and my family and everyone who's supported me. I'm on cloud nine at the moment.'

Pure delight: Applegate said she was on cloud nine

Pure delight: Applegate said she was on cloud nine

Asked how she came back to win, she said: 'I really have no idea.'

Victory sees Applegate join Ellie Simmonds and Jonathan Fox as Britain's gold medallists at the Aquatics Centre, her medal the 13th claimed so far by the home swimmers.

Applegate, who had already come fourth in the 100m backstroke, added: 'I am ecstatic, I really didn't think I could do something like that.

'At the last turn I could see how far ahead they were and I knew I had to give everything I had. It was my last race so I knew it didn't matter if I collapsed at the bottom of the pool, it's fine.'

In full flow: Applegate's medal was the 13th claimed by the home swimmers

In full flow: Applegate's medal was the 13th claimed by the home swimmers

In the men's equivalent, Daniel Pepper and Ben Procter finished seventh and eighth respectively.

Pepper and Procter had qualified fourth and fifth prompting hopes of gatecrashing the podium.

However, the pace was blistering and
resulted in Jon Margeir Sverrisson setting a new world record of
1:59.62, with the first three men all dipping under two minutes.

Procter, third in the 2010 World
Championships, started the better of the two Britons and was third at
halfway with Pepper in seventh.

However, Procter could not maintain
his pace and found the field overtaking him as he finished in 2:03.30
with Pepper 0.03secs ahead.

London 2012 Paralympics: Ellie Simmonds wins gold in 400m freestyle

Simmonds smashes 400m freestyle world record as she takes GB's second Paralympic gold in the pool

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UPDATED:

17:54 GMT, 1 September 2012

Ellie Simmonds claimed ParalympicsGB's second gold medal in the pool of London 2012 when she triumphed in her S6 400 metres freestyle shoot-out against Victoria Arlen and demolished the American's world record by more than five seconds.

Victory in five minutes 19.17 seconds followed the gold won by Jonathan Fox on the opening night and came immediately after Simmonds' Swansea team-mate Matthew Whorwood secured bronze in the previous race in the men's equivalent.

Tears of joy! Ellie Simmonds smashed the world record by five seconds on her way to 400m gold

Tears of joy! Ellie Simmonds smashed the world record by five seconds on her way to 400m gold

The crowd at the Aquatics Centre had grown increasingly more raucous as Whorwood made his way to the bronze in the previous race and on Simmonds' introduction the noise was intense.

The pair were neck and neck going into the final turn with the Briton 0.08 secs ahead and as she pulled away, the American had no answer as Simmonds touched first to send the crowd into a frenzy.

It was only at 2pm on Saturday that Arlen's participation in the race was confirmed in a statement released by the International Paralympic Committee.

Earlier this week the American swimmer had been deemed ineligible for competition and excluded from London 2012.

The United States' appeal to the IPC was upheld and the 17-year-old was reinstated on Thursday.

In a two-stage process, Arlen passed an initial assessment but she was also observed during racing on Saturday and it was only following the morning's heat that any doubt surrounding her involvement in her three S6 freestyle events was dispelled with a review in a year's time.

Unstoppable: Simmonds was in disbelief when she took the gold in London

Unstoppable: Simmonds was in disbelief when she took the gold in London

A swimmer's classification can change for different strokes because the nature of their impairment may affect their ability to perform a particular stroke.

This applies to Arlen who competes in the SB5 class in breaststroke in which she will continue to be observed.

Simmonds struggled to keep her emotions in check as she came to terms with her achievement.

'I need to sort myself out because I don't want to cry again,' she told Channel 4.

'I just went out there and gave it my all. I'm exhausted but I can't wait to see my coach (Billy Pye).

'I'm exhausted. I can't believe I did it.

Congratulations: Victoria Arlen embraces Simmonds after being beaten by the Briton

Congratulations: Victoria Arlen embraces Simmonds after being beaten by the Briton

'It was so tough. I saw her (Arlen) on the last 100 and I was like, “I'm going to have to put my head down' and I thought, 'I'm going to do it for for everyone who's supported me”.'

Asked whether the uncertainty surrounding Arlen's participation had affected her, she said: 'Not really. I think it pushed me even harder.

'I knew that she was on it tonight, I knew I had to go there and give it everything, but 5.19 – my coach said it was going to be won in a 5.19 but I didn't believe him.

'I just put my head down and gave it everything. I was exhausted but I just put my head down and went for it.

'Everyone was wishing me good luck which was so nice. I did it for myself, I did it for my family.'

With the medley still to come, she added: 'I'm on form. I've just done a six-second PB so everything's going really well so I'm just going to go back, enjoy this moment, enjoy my medal and my presentation. I'm excited.'