JESSICA Ennis has thanked the people of Sheffield for backing her all the way to her momentous Olympic gold medal.
The 26-year-old heptathlete, whose achievements will be celebrated with a huge civic ceremony in the city centre tomorrow, said: “I have to say a big thank you to the people of Sheffield who have believed in me and backed me over the years - and to the people who were there in the stadium in London who really lifted me every step of the way.
“Winning the Olympics in Britain has exceeded everything I could have ever wished for – I am still in a state of disbelief.
“Being Olympic Champion is the best feeling ever and as an athlete the ultimate achievement.”
Thousands of people are expected to pour into Barker’s Pool tomorrow afternoon, bedecked in gold to welcome Jessica home.
The celebrations will begin at 4pm when Balm Green, next to the City Hall, will be transformed into a mini athletics track where young people can try out their skills on some of the sporting disciplines of the heptathlon.
Sheffield band The Hot Soles and singer Sarah Mac will take to the Barker’s Pool stage from 5pm and Jessica’s journey to Olympic success will be shown on big screens alongside the stage and on Fargate near the Town Hall.
The ceremony will then begin on stage at 6.30pm, compered by comedian and broadcaster Toby Foster.
His band the Everly Pregnant Brothers will then perform a new song written in Jessica’s honour.