Britain's Jessica Ennis Wins Gold In Olympic Heptathlon
Jessica Ennis, 26, destroyed the competition in Olympic heptathlon beating Lithuanian runner-up Austra Skujyte, who trailed behind 188 points by the final 800 meters event. "It was a great way to go into the last event," Ennis told Sports Illustrated, who did not relent despite her lead. Not only did Ennis take home the gold, she also completed the final race at 2:08.65 — her personal best time of the year — and summed up a total of 6,995, which topped her own British record.
Born in Sheffield to a Jamaican father and Derbyshire mother, Ennis has been competing in track and field since she was 10, and has been promoted as Britain’s Olympic poster girl ever since London was announced as the 2012 Games’ host city. “She did it [the hurdles] very easily so we asked her to have a go over higher hurdles," Mick Thompson, who was a coach at a summer camp at Don Valley stadium, realized Ennis’s potential early on. "She just glided over everything with a lot of speed. We thought she must have been coached in some way. But when we asked her, she said that she had never done any hurdling before,” Thompson said of Ennis, who was 10 at the time.
The past four years have seen Ennis feature on every billboard and magazine in Britain thanks to her half-million-dollar contract with Adidas, promotional deals with Aviva and Olay, and even a self-penned column for The Times of London, so much had been made of her Olympic debut prior to the race. "I can't believe I've had the opportunity to come to my first Games in London and that I won an Olympic gold medal," a relieved Ennis said looking back on her career, with a Union Jack flag wrapped around her shoulders.
"The crowd helped me and I can't believe I've done it," Ennis later told Fox News of her supportive fans. Eighty-thousand fans drowned out the stadium with their cheering, while another 12 million Brits tuned in for the event on TV, the Daily Mail reported. “Jessica Ennis was probably the best-prepared athlete coming into the Games. The mental preparation and the ability to focus makes her a great person,” American Olympic champion Michael Johnson opined.
But Ennis was not entirely at ease coming into the Games. "I'd been up and down in the long jump all year," Ennis said of the event, which took place on Day 2. "I was really worried that I was going to come in and throw it all away with three no-marks." But she succeeded even then, later adding that the jump "was a massive, massive relief."
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