The ‘poster girl’ of London 2012 coped with the pressure of public expectations and led from the front, securing heptathlon gold in a magnificent 800m finale and provided one of the moments of the Games. One of Britain’s most popular athletes Jess retired from competition after the Rio Olympics in which she won silver.
One of the stars of the London 2012 Olympics, Jessica Ennis-Hill was not just the ‘poster girl’ for the games, she also embodied the competitiveness, enthusiasm, determination and professionalism synonymous with the Olympic movement.
Jess’s route to Olympic success was not easy. Going into the 2008 Beijing games as a favourite in the hepathlon, she suffered a career-threatening injury forcing her out of the competition entirely. Distraught at being made to watch a competition she was expected to win from home, she determined to fight her way to recovery and regain her place amongst the international elite. She came back, won gold at the World Championships the following year as well as at the European Championships and was once again amongst the favourites when the 2012 games came.
Leading from the front in London, Jess won both the opening events; the 100m hurdles and high jump. Briefly slipping into second after the shot put, she regained the lead after the 200m. On the second day Jess extend her lead with extraordinary wins in the long jump and javelin. Entering the final day leading the field by 200 points, a top three place in the 800m, the final event would secure gold. With millions watching expectantly at home and a capacity crowd in the stadium, Jess overcame the pressure with a masterclass perfomance finishing first, emphatically claiming a triumphant gold and providing one of the most memorable moments of a phenomenal Olympics.
After taking a break from athletics to start a family, Jess returned to the Olympics in Rio, taking silver in the Women’s heptathlon. As well as holding the British record in the heptathlon and the indoor pentathlon, Jess also has individual event records in the high jump and 100m.
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