Tokyo Paralympics: Ellie Robinson's 'story of triumph not defeat'

Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan on BBC Dates: 24 Aug-5 Sep Time in Tokyo: BST+8 Coverage: Follow Radio 5 Live or on the BBC Sport Website
Ellie Robinson spoke out about her fifth-place finish in the Tokyo Paralympics and called it a "story that triumphed not defeated" during a powerful interview after the race.

Robinson competed in the final of the women's S6 butterflies on her 20th birthday. She started strong but fell short by one quarter of a second.

Jiang Yuyan, a world record holder from China, won gold. Nicole Turner, Ireland was second and Elizabeth Marks, the United States third.

Robinson, a Paralympic bronze and gold medallist in Rio aged 15, spoke in an emotional interview about the struggles she went through to reach the 2020 Games.

She told Channel 4 that she had said many times, "If I have to crawl up to the block on hands and knees, I will do it."

"I was in pain for a whole year. This is a story about triumph, not defeat."

"I have spoken with physios over the past year, and they said that we don't know how you will continue swimming."

Robinson was diagnosed in 2012 with Perthes disease in her right leg. This is a condition that affects the hip joint in children. She revealed how her arthritis made it impossible for her to swim between November 2020, and the World Para Swimming European Open Championships this May.

"I like to think of a Perthes hip as having a finite amount time left. I ran out of time. It would have been completely different if the Games were last year.

"But lockdown and the additional year, adaptation with training - it took its toll upon my hip. Two failed injections were my experience. I tried many different medications and nothing worked.

"I was at a very low point in my own life. I was struggling so much. After seeing a psychiatrist, I was prescribed medication. It was one of the most difficult years of my entire life.

"What threatens you to weaken you won't conquer you"

Robinson quit training in 2012 after being diagnosed with cancer, but she returned to the pool in 2014. She made her international debut for Great Britain in 2014, one year later.

After winning three bronze medals in the 2016 European championships, she went on to win the gold medal in the S6 butterfly in Rio as well as a bronze in S6 100m freestyle.

Robinson said, "I honestly thought that I would be more upset than I was."

People have said, "It's OK to finish, but you don't have the obligation to continue." And I replied, "I'm not finishing this way, it's not going to end that way."

"So, even though I didn’t win a medal, I can still say that I finished on my own terms. I did what I wanted."

"This is just a way to show people that whatever threatens to weaken your will not conquer you. You will triumph over it to your own terms.

"I proved to myself that I can control when I finish and not be told when I will finish. I proved that I could overcome any challenge and I'm so happy I did.