No one was taking our Sheffield girls gold

Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates winning Gold in the Women's Heptathlon after finishing the 800m at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the eighth day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 4, 2012. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Great Britain's Jessica Ennis celebrates winning Gold in the Women's Heptathlon after finishing the 800m at the Olympic Stadium, London, on the eighth day of the London 2012 Olympics. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday August 4, 2012. Photo credit should read: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. EDITORIAL USE ONLY
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SHE did it.

She did it for Team GB, for Sheffield, for everyone bathing in the golden glow of their TV sets all around the world.

Jessica Ennis delivered.

The pin-up girl of 2012, the face of the London Olympics carried the hopes of a city, the country and much of the planet and came up with the form of her life on the biggest occasion of them all.

Priceless, brilliant, beautiful, we could scarcely believe our eyes as her dream unfolded while a billion people looked on.

Jessica capped two days of personal excellence in an hour of truly stunning TV when Great Britain took three athletics gold medals in a rapturous stadium to make it six on Britain’s best ever Olympics day.

The build-up to the gold-rush began on Friday night with Jessica’s sensational 110 metres hurdles.

She flew. Perfect rhythm, power, speed and determination.

Then came the 200 metres and the sign that she would not let this chance slip. Her determination over the last 15 metres to get to the line first showed a true champion’s desire.

The angelic face and children’s TV presenter sweetness belie the absolute steel within.

Even a hint of doubt after the shot-put was swept away in an instant by that wonderful smile.

No-one was taking her gold medal.

Between events on Saturday while she sat killing time school-Sports-Day style we were in and out, nipping to the shops, cutting hedges, picking up kids but all in heptathlon harmony.

All day she soothed our nervous expectation with her impeccably focused talent, every time we looked at the screen she was getting it right.

Her thanks to the crowd after her third long jump, that Blue Peter thumbs-up to the camera delivered with confidence and modesty, was the opening line of her victory speech.

But there was still plenty to do, still events in which to lose it all.

Still time for the self-doubt that could have undone a lesser character.

Those towering Olympic posters overlooking everywhere from Barker’s Pool to the Olympic Village and the even higher hopes they created would have been too much for most to bear.

But Jessica took strength from our hope in her and held her nerve better than any of us watching at home.

Not so long ago you might not have noticed her girl-next-door face in a city centre bus queue or at Sainsbury’s check-out.

Today she is the most famous woman on the planet.

The face of Sheffield, Great Britain and the Olympics, the face of success and of promise delivered.

We’re by nature a cynical, nation bristling with irony, sarcasm and self-deprecation, put yourself down before someone else does it, is our way.

But sometimes you just have to sit back, recognise greatness and love life.

Sometimes you can be proud without reservation of what this country has created, equally proud of another Sheffielder Seb Coe and of what we are showing the world in these Olympic games.

But most of all we can be proud of Jessica Ennis, the Sheffield girl who took the weight of all our hopes on her shoulders and carried it to the finish line with ease and class.

Her victory was the golden spark that lit up these games across the world and set in motion a night of scarcely believable intensity in the Olympic Stadium.

The crowd was sensational, the athletes magnificent, the spectacle unique.

Not since 1966 has it felt this good to belong to these sporting islands.

Everyone will always remember where they were when Jessica Ennis won Olympic Gold.

Destiny called and our girl claimed her place in history.