21 January 2021
Impact stories: Ellie Robinson and Paralympians as role models
Think back to Rio and one of the enduring moments that comes to mind is that of 15-year-old Ellie Robinson, or ‘the girl in huge coat’, as her Twitter bio states, announcing herself to the world as she entered poolside in an oversized black coat, hood up and arms aloft.
Bursting on the scene as one of ParalympicsGB’s next wave of leading medal prospects, Robinson not only left the pool that day as a Paralympic champion, but as an internet phenomenon who had captured the nation’s attention and left a lasting impression.
Making an entrance at Rio 2016
Fast forward four years and with those same memories front of mind, Ellie’s public profile has continued to grow in the intervening years building up towards Tokyo.
Earlier this year Ellie was selected to be one of thirteen athlete ambassadors for our Impossible To Ignore campaign, which will see her appear as one the faces of the ParalympicsGB team across promotional branding in the athletes’ village as well as in and our upcoming digital content.
And despite the Games’ postponement, by teaming up with Ellie, we’ve enabled her to create a platform on which to speak out about a range of issues.
“The Impossible to Ignore campaign has helped me to create what I believe is one of the biggest impacts that sport has had on my life - my identity,” explained Ellie.
“To be an athlete carries a huge identity and with it we can chose to pursue all manner of aspirations.
“As one of the Impossible to Ignore ambassadors, I have been given the opportunity to work with The Sunday Times magazine, Channel 4 and The Telegraph, not only are these wonderful opportunities for me personally, but they are opportunities for me to talk about topics I’m passionate about.
Ellie's Sunday Times magazine cover
“With an identity comes a platform, as well as the ability to educate and to introduce new perceptions to society.”
From being one of the faces of our Thank You Together campaign, which paid tribute to the NHS for their incredible efforts during the current pandemic, through to engaging tens of thousands of school children to get inspired by Paralympic sport in our Get Set programme, Ellie has been able to reach a wide demographic throughout Great Britain.
Inspired herself to take up para sport by watching Ellie Simmonds compete at London 2012, Ellie is now hoping to use her public profile as a ParalympicsGB athlete to continue the growth of Paralympic sport.
“Public profiles create role models and characters and I’m a great believer that it is those role models who attract people to the sport.
“People want to see sports personalities who show their true character. Jonnie Peacock, Richard Whitehead, Hannah Cockroft and Elllie Simmonds are all household names and it’s those names who open you up to the world of Paralympic Sport.
“As humans, we get behind our favourite role models and through them we become immersed in the sport. The character steals our attention, and then slowly but surely, we pick up on stats, categories and classifications.
“The rate para sport has progressed is spectacular and the media coverage of London 2012 elevated it to new heights. With this rate of progression, the world stage of Paralympic sport could create some of the biggest sporting careers to date.”
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