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'I want this to be a story of triumph': Ellie Robinson battles pain to bow out on Paralympics high

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‘I want this to be a story of triumph’: Swimmer Ellie Robinson battles pain to bow out on high at Paralympics after earning remarkable finish in final

  • Ellie Robinson finished fifth in the S6 50 metres butterfly final at the Paralympics
  • The star swimmer has a chronic hip condition which may have ended her career
  • Robinson wants her story to be one that inspires people after proving a point 


Ellie Robinson provided a heartbreaking insight into a chronic hip condition which means her swimming career, as well as her Paralympics, may have ended yesterday on her 20th birthday.

Robinson made it to the final of the S6 50 metres butterfly, though had not made public that she is suffering a form of osteoarthritis which has left her in increasingly excruciating pain.

The one-year delay to the Paralympics meant that ‘time ran out’ on the deteriorating right hip. To have placed fifth in her final was remarkable in the circumstances.

Swimmer Ellie Robinson wants her career to inspire people after her Paralympics fifth place

Swimmer Ellie Robinson wants her career to inspire people after her Paralympics fifth place

Robinson says it would have been a 'very different story' had the Games taken place in 2020

Robinson says it would have been a ‘very different story’ had the Games taken place in 2020

‘I want this to be a story of triumph because it is. I did what I wanted to do and I finished on my own terms and proved to myself that I had it in me,’ said Robinson, describing how she has Perthes disease, in which poor blood affects the joints.

‘These hips have a finite amount of time left in them,’ she said. ‘Had the Games been last year, it would have been a very different story, I was swimming incredibly well.

‘I had two hip injections. I have tried medications that have not worked and I have been told just to manage the pain. I had people telling me all the way back in December, I don’t have to carry on. I remember screaming back at them, ‘I am not going to quit. I am finishing on my terms’.’

Here's how the medals table currently looks

Here’s how the medals table currently looks

Robinson, who will ultimately need a hip replacement, intends to build a new life in something related to the history and politics degree she is completing.

She spoke of the support of her grandfather, Roy. ‘I have phone calls with him and we don’t even talk about swimming,’ she said. ‘We just talk about history, philosophy, science. He made me smarter, more inquisitive and philosophical, so I’d like to thank him a lot.’

The lack of a medal here was inconsequential, said Robinson, who won gold at Rio 2016.

‘I am so proud because I have everything I need,’ she reflected. ‘I have the kit, the video evidence… everything to prove I got through the past year.’

Phoebe Paterson Pine won gold in archery and described how she had taken up the sport after discovering it on a family holiday at Center Parcs with her parents nine years ago.

The 23-year-old had to complete a quarter-final, semi and final in the space of two hours as temperatures tipped 91°F (33°C).

She only flinched when defeating her friend and team-mate Jess Stretton in the last 16. ‘I told her, ‘I’m sorry’,’ said Paterson Pine

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