Retro: Floods of tears as Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis wins Olympic Gold in London 2012

Tears of joy for  Jessica Ennis  after clinching gold in the London 2012 Olympics.   Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
Tears of joy for Jessica Ennis after clinching gold in the London 2012 Olympics. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.
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Sheffield’s Jessica Ennis became the golden girl of British athletics by winning Olympic heptathlon gold in London four years ago.

It was perhaps the most magical moment in the history of Sheffield sport and a major highlight of the 2012 games.

The moment her gold medal was confirmed as  Jessica Ennis wins the 800m. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

The moment her gold medal was confirmed as Jessica Ennis wins the 800m. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Tears ran down her cheeks and those of British supporters in the packed crowd at the Olympic Stadium - not forgetting those of us watching on TV at home.

The people of Sheffield and the whole country took her to their hearts:

* An estimated 20,000 people attended her homecoming in Barker’s Pool.

* She was featured on a special postage stamp, along with other GB gold winners, and the post box in the corner of Barker’s Pool was painted gold in her honour.

She's on her way: Thumbs upm from  Jessica Ennis after the Women's Heptathlon 200m. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

She's on her way: Thumbs upm from Jessica Ennis after the Women's Heptathlon 200m. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

* Henderson’s Relish produced a special limited edition with a gold label instead of the usual orange, adopting their slogan with the inscription: “Congratulations Jessica - Strong and Northern”.

* Sheffield Council awarded her Freedom of the City and honoured her in the Wall of Fame in the Winter Gardens.

* Sheffield United renamed one of their stands at Bramall Lane the Jessica Ennis stand.

* Celebrated city artist and cartoonist Pete McKee did a tribute painting of her in an open top sports car, prints being sold for the benefit of Sheffield Children’s Hospital of which she is a patron.

* The Beano featured her on the front of a special Olympic edition - Ennis the Menace.

* She was named European female athlete of the year, British athlete of the year and Ultimate Olympian of the Year in Cosmopolitan.

* Sports writers voted her British athlete of the year, and she was named World Sportswoman of the year at the Laureus World Sport Awards.

* She was made a CBE in the 2013 New Years Honours list for services to athletics.

* Her long-time coach Toni Minichiello was named coach of the year by Sports Coach UK.

THE ROUTE TO GOLD AND HOW JESS COPED WITH THE PRESSURE

Jessica Ennis clinched gold on that great night in London with a runaway victory on the final event the 800m.

The 26-year-old City of Sheffield AC member knew she was almost certain of the title going into Saturday race, and she delivered in two minutes 8.65sec.

She needed to finish within 13 seconds of Lithuanian Austra Skujyte but still lead the final heat from the start.

After briefly relinquishing it, she kicked on the final straight to ensure two glorious days finished in style.

The face of the games fulfilled her greatest dream with a series of brilliant personal bests that left her rivals helpless.

The 26-year-old’s total of 6,955 points was a huge 306 points ahead of Germany’s Lilli Schwarzkopt in silver and 327 clear of world champion Tatyana Chernova in bronze.

Ennis showed she meant business from day one. She shattered her lifetime best in the 100m hurdles by a quarter of a second in a time of 12.54 seconds and the time that Dawn Harper clocked to win the 100m hurdles in the 2008 Olympics.

She finished fifth in the high jump with 1,054 points to stay in the overall lead.

Ennis slipped to overall second after the third event the shot when event specialist Skujyte hit the front with a huge 17.31m. The Sheffield girl threw 14.28m compared to her personal best of 14.79m.

But day one ended with Jess back in the lead by clocking a lifetime best in the 200m to send the crowd into raptures.

She finished second but her performance sliced 0.05sec off her previous best, giving her the cushion of an 184-point overnight lead.

Day two opened with another second placing in the long jump with a big effort in the final round of 6.48m, only three seconds off her personal best.

The penultimate event the javelin - her weakest discipline - produced her third-best lifetime throw of 47.49meters, leaving her well in front and the gold medal within her grasp .

After her moment of glory Ennis said: “To come into this event with all that pressure and everyone saying you’re going to win gold … I’m so shocked I can’t believe it.

“After javelin I didn’t let myself believe it. After all the hard work and disappointment of Beijing, everyone has supported me so much. They said: ‘Go for another four years,’ and I’ve done that.”

Ennis told our man at the Olympics Richard Fidler how the pressure to win the title weighed heavily on her.

She had been trying not to show the strain but now the gold medal had been won she wasw able to let her emotions go.

“Obviously I was aware everybody expected me to win. I had a few moments at home worrying and wondering if it would be all right or if everything would fall apart. “There was a tremendous amount of pressure but I was in such a unique position and I wanted to make the most of it.

“I trained as hard as I could and wanted to make sure I delivered on those two days and thankfully I can sit here and say that I did. It was the people around me who helped keep things in perspective.”

* Jessica married Andy Hill the year after and is now known as Ennis-Hill.