From winning Paralympic gold in Rio to becoming a children’s author, that’s the story of the Paralympian swimmer Ellie Robinson.
She retired from swimming after the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021 and is now juggling her studies with writing.
Her first book – Gold Medal Mysteries: Thief on the Track – is out on 13 April.
Ellie, from Northampton, was diagnosed with Perthes disease in her right hip in 2012 – a condition affecting the hip joint in children.
She went on to enjoy huge success in swimming, winning her Paralympic gold in the S6 butterfly, aged just 15, in 2016.
After that chapter ended, Ellie was aware many sports people had difficulties moving on but said she had found it fairly straightforward.
She started doing a history degree and did a lot of writing was well. “I was able to find what my next step was while I was still an athlete,” she explained. “I don’t know – I can’t say I hacked it – but I feel like my transition was incredibly smooth because I knew what that next step was, and I naturally kind of fell into it.”
It helped when a literary agent saw an interview where she spoke about her love of writing and followed up on it. In some ways, Ellie was glad to leave parts of her old life behind.
“I hated training – I couldn’t say it when I was an athlete – because it wouldn’t sound great,” she said.
“But now I have finished sport I can proudly say – I hated training and I loved competing.”
That doesn’t mean she has left the world of sport behind – her first book combines her love of history and sport in a mystery story. She hopes her book can capture the imagination of readers like her younger self.
“I wasn’t necessarily an avid reader but once I found a book that I liked I would finish it really quickly,” she said.
“I wasn’t a bookworm – the librarian at my secondary school would definitely vouch for that.”
However, Ellie said that a love of sport did not mean you could not also enjoy reading.
“It is not actually an accurate reflection of children and society nowadays – you can be both into sport and into books as well,” she said.
So perhaps the worlds of the Paralympics and literature need not be so far apart after all.