SHEFFIELD’s sporting superstar Jess Ennis has admitted she is feeling the stress as the London Olympics draw near.
Jess, aged 26, who was brought up in Highfield and Woodseats, says she never set out to be a celebrity, and that fame came suddenly.
“One minute you’re a developing athlete trying to get to the top, then the next minute you do well and win a medal somewhere and then it’s all foisted on you,” she said.
“You never know when it’s going to happen. You don’t think about the media side of things when you’re a young athlete trying to do well.”
Jess, who won gold and set a British heptathlon record in Austria last month, is busy fulfilling media and promotional commitments as well as training in the run-up to the Olympics in London this summer.
And she believes the attention and demands are harder than ever for her generation of Olympic athletes.
“Things have changed so much, with Facebook and Twitter,” she said. “Everyone is so much more accessible these days - no British athlete has ever experienced what we are experiencing now.
“It’s such a unique situation with the home Olympics. It’s not just the sports journalists who want to talk to you and write stories about you, it’s all the different journalists from different fields who may not be that interested in what you do but want to chat about something else - your private life or stuff like that. It’s completely different and it’s a new situation for all of us.”
But she admitted the ‘most stressful’ part of her life remains her sport.
“How hard you have to train and work - it’s the stress of the competition, too - it’s not just going out and doing one race or two, it’s seven events over two days, it’s such a rollercoaster,” she confessed.
Asked what she is looking forward to most after the Olympics end, Jess says it’s her wedding to fiance Andy Hill.
“That’s what I’m really looking forward to. It’s such a big year and it’s going to be, no matter what happens, stressful - it’s already been stressful. I want to make the most of this moment, but I’m also looking forward to going on holiday and then getting married and doing different things.”