On July 17, 2014 Jessica Ennis-Hill gave birth to her first child, son Reggie. On August 23, 2015, the Sheffield athlete won a gold medal at the World Championships in Beijing.
Thirteen months. That’s all it took for the 29 year-old to get back to fitness and take her place as the world’s top heptathlete. Ennis-Hill isn’t so much a sports star as a superhero.
It’s a remarkable comeback, coming three years after her last major success, at the London Olympics and this after only making a relatively recent decision to take up her place in the event in the Bird’s Nest in Beijing.
For Ennis-Hill it was almost surreal.
The emotion gripped her as she crossed the line in the 800m heat in 2 mins 10.13 seconds to take her tally to 6,669 points after a stunning show of dominance in her previous six events on Saturday.
She admitted herself that a gold medal wasn’t on her radar, but Ennis-Hill defied those who felt that taking time out to have a baby may mean that her podium days in major championships were behind her.
“Me and Toni (Minichiello, coach) spoke about coming here and we only wanted to come here if I was ready to contend for a medal,” she said.
“We spoke about a bronze medal - that would be amazing - and a silver medal, but we never spoke about a gold medal.
“I just thought it was a little beyond me this year.”
And that was what summoned the emotion as the Sheffield star slumped to the track following the 800m, surrounded by her fellow competitors and then eventually draped in the flag, holding it aloft to create a scene which stirred memories of that glorious Saturday in the capital three years ago.
“It was a reflection on the whole year really, happy that I’d gone through everything,” Ennis-Hill.
“It’s hard with a newborn at the beginning and you’re just into everything and then getting back into training and thinking about everyone that’s helped me, my family, Toni and the team around me.
“They’ve been patient and believed I can get back to this point.”
She added: “It was just a massive surprise to even be here to be honest.
“Doing the Anniversary Games (a month ago) and deciding whether I could come here and be competitive and now to be here and to have finished on top, I’m at a loss for words
“This has definitely been the hardest year ever.
“Going to London was incredibly hard and there were different pressures and challenges. But this year juggling all my mummy duties and training has just been so hard.
“But it’s been the most amazing year because I’ve got my son and I’m back here on a global stage with a global medal.”