Ellie Simmonds fails to win third gold but grabs silver in S6 100m freestyle final


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The Independent Online

Swimming sensation and star of the games Ellie Simmonds was unable to win her third gold of the London Paralympics - despite producing the fastest swim of her life.

The smiling 17-year-old sent the Aquatics Centre into raptures as she "gave it everything" in the S6 100-metre freestyle final.

She narrowly missed out on her third win of the Games, losing out to rival Victoria Arlen to bag a silver - to add to her two golds and a bronze.

The American had to perform a stunning performance and beat her own world record - set earlier today - to beat Walsall-flier Simmonds.

Speaking after the race, Simmonds said: "I gave it everything on that last 50 (metres). I could see her but I just didn't have anything left.

"I'm just really chuffed. A PB (personal best) by over a second, I'm just really happy. I would have loved to get the gold but you can't have everything."

Her medals follow the two golds she won in Beijing four years - when she was propelled into the limelight - aged just 13.

Asked how the Games compared to 2008, she said: "I think Beijing's always going to be the best Games for me. I loved it all and it was my first Games.

"This Games has been amazing as well though. It's been topped off by my swims.

"It's been really good in front of a home crowd, it's been amazing.

"I don't want it to end but it is ending and I'm just looking forward to celebrating now."

Her win, on the penultimate day of the Games, comes as David Stone won Great Britain's 33rd gold medal of the Games in the mixed T1-2 road race at Brands Hatch.

The 31-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and rides a tricycle, took the 24-kilometre road race to win his third Paralympic gold medal, seven seconds ahead of Italy's Giorgio Farroni.

London 2012 bosses today gave a taste of the closing ceremony, which will take place in front of a sell-out crowd in the stadium tomorrow night.

British favourites Coldplay - who were paid just £1 to provide the musical backbone for the ceremony - will play an "unusual setlist" designed to represent the seasons of the year.

Among the hits expected to be performed, is a previously unheard version of their song Viva La Vida.

Director Kim Gavin, who was also behind the Olympic closing ceremony, said they had "put together a unique group of people who storm the stadium, and bring this festival to life".

He added that a throng of "travellers", were set to "storm the stage" as part of the celebration, which he said was not merely a Coldplay concert.

Jay-Z and Rihanna are also among the stars rumoured to perform.

Members of the Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy - who helped with security during London 2012 - have also been invited to attend the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games.

Bosses will tomorrow reveal who will be Britain's flagbearer at the ceremony, with wheelchair racer David Weir tipped as heavy favourite.

Weir, dubbed The Weirwolf, will take part in tomorrow's T54 wheelchair marathon going for a stunning fourth gold in the Games.

Hopes are also in the T54 female marathon, which will see Shelly Woods start shortly after the men's race.

The Blackpool athlete will be hoping to put the disappointment of not qualifying for the 800m final by winning gold tomorrow.

ParalympicsGB has smashed through the 103 medal target, having now won 118 - including 33 gold - and sit third in the medals table.