IT’S time for Sheffield to party tonight. And there is good reason to.
Two words. Jess Ennis.
The people of South Yorkshire should be turning out in numbers tonight to celebrate the achievements of the best woman athlete in the world and the best all-round athlete to come from our city.
She ‘officially’ comes home tonight and deserves a great welcome and should get it in numbers and volume.
No one deserves it more.
The crowds at the various Olympic venues showed how to support our athletes and we’ve seen athletes welcomed back in towns and cities elsewhere.
Now it’s the turn of Sheffield and South Yorkshire to show their feelings and let it rip.
It’s the sort of occasion you rarely see. Not often you get chance to pay your tribute and bellow your thanks to an Olympic gold medallist from your city. Who knows when, if ever, it will happen again (Rio 2016 whispers a voice over my shoulder).
All those youngsters inspired by Jess should be dragging mum and dad down tonight. Who knows, the next one might be watching tonight.
It is a special occasion and it will be worth it to see the loveliest smile in athletics.
In fact, asked for one memory from the Olympics it would be Jess’s smile on the podium when all the happiness, joy and fulfilment was captured in that beaming visage.
The city makes it formally official with their Civic Reception of which the Barker’s Pool bit is the outdoor event followed by the indoor eats, drinks and a few speeches.
It’s a nice touch by the Council to ask Jess what she’d like named after her.
The suggested re-naming of Don Valley Stadium would be appropriate because that’s where she was first ‘spotted’, of course, at a summer athletics camp there when she was 10.
I liked the story from one of the coaches, Mick Thompson, who was there that day as the school kids were set off trying various things.
He saw her do the hurdles and thought she’d been coached.
But she’d never hurdled before.
“She just seemed a natural,” he said.
She filled a city and its people with pride two weekends ago and anything Sheffield does she deserves.
I did actually think of something else that might be a nice, lasting memento from her city.
She’s got a gold medal and that’s forever No 1. But I wondered if it was possible to get a replica made in stainless steel, the metal her home city is famous for.
A gold medal from the Olympics and a bright, shiny, stainless steel medal as a gift from her home city, to go alongside it.
Just a thought.
You may have noticed that while the Olympics were going on, you could barely find a word about the Premier League.
How on earth did we manage to get by without?
But whilst those clubs go from riches to riches, there are belt-tightenings elsewhere.
I heard about one club, not in our region, who are having cut backs and they applied this to the media as well.
They supplied a voucher for a half-time drink. Hot or cold. But if it was cold then it had to be water - you couldn’t have Fanta or Coke.
The confectionery voucher entitled you to a bag of crisps or any chocolate.
But not a Mars bar.
They were jumbo-sized!