Ennis’s remarkable achievement resulted in Olympic gold in the heptathalon. In the process, she set a heptathlon world record in the hurdles and achieved a personal best in the 200m.
Coming in at 5ft 4in, Ennis – known as “tadpole” – appeared to bear the weight of Olympic expectation remarkably well.
“I’m still enjoying every minute of it – and it’s just great to have had such a successful Games and now be back home in my home city and celebrating with everyone,” she told Channel 4 News.
Although she had to practice hard on the shot putt, she said she loved the heptathlon. “It’s great to train for. There’s always something different to do and it’s brilliant to be part of. So I’m glad I chose the heptathlon.”
Sheffield-born Ennis missed out on the Beijing Games after suffering a potentially career-ending broken foot. But she earned her place as one of the UK’s strongest medal hopes with a number of gold medal positions in recent years.
Enjoying the moment
Dicussing the possibility of taking part in the next Games, in Rio in four years’ time, Jessica Ennis told Jon Snow: “It’s something that I’ve not thought about too much just yet. It’s four years away so there’s a lot of time.
“I’m just enjoying this moment for as long as possible and then focusing on the next big championships, which will be the World Championships next year.”
Neither of Jessica Ennis’s parents was particularly athletic. Her father is a self-employed painter and decorator, originally from Jamaica, and her mother is a social worker who was born in Derbyshire.
They introduced her to athletics at the Start:Track event at Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium during the school holidays in 1996. Ennis would later joke that her parents took her there because they “wanted me out of the house”.