THOUSANDS of Jessica Ennis fans went crazy in Sheffield’s Don Valley Stadium when their hero crossed the line to win heptathlon gold at London’s Olympic Stadium, writes Graham Walker.
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For much of the day, the Don Valley stadium - where the city’s big screen has been erected - resembled a country picnic.
It was part of Sheftival, a music and sport festival, timed to coincide with Jess’s golden bid.
As Jessica came out for her 800m heat, 2,000 people surged to the front of the big screen, the floodlights came on, and the stadium where Ennis was discovered and still trains suddenly resembled a rock concert.
Every time Ennis’s face appeared on the screen the cheers got louder.
Even when the live TV feed switched to the long jump, the athletes jumping for Britain were roared on too.
Steve Brailey, Chief Executive of Sheffield International Venues, which managers Don Valley Stadium, revald how he sobbed tears of joy.
“I had tears rolling down my face when she won that medal. It was absolutely brilliant.
“She’s been working on it for eight years now and I’ve always believed she would do it, since she got injured before Beijing,
“People have been so emotional. Some were crying, including me.
“Tonight’s not the night to think about how we’ll mark her achievement. We need to enjoy the moment.”
When the starter’s gun went off, Sheffield produced a wall of noise.
And when Ennis crossed the line, there were hugs, tears and even louder screams.
Jessica Burton, 17, said: “On my god she’s done it.
“We love her, we love her, we love her.
“I am so proud to be from the same city as Jess Ennis.”