Jessica Ennis-Hill’s coach says it is unfair to judge the heptathlete by her London 2012 prime, now that she is older and a mum.
Coach Toni Minichiello has instead challenged Ennis-Hill to hit post-pregnancy personal bests in the Rio Olympics, Brazil, this year.
Ennis-Hill claimed gold on ‘Super Saturday’ four years ago, setting a new British record of 6,995 points, and went on to have her first child in July 2014.
Having returned to competition she won world championship gold in Beijing last year but just two women in history have retained Olympic titles after giving birth, as Ennis-Hill is aiming to in Brazil, and it has never been done in a multi-discipline event.
Minichiello acknowledges that Ennis-Hill is a different competitor now and manages expectation accordingly.
He said: “This is an athlete who’s older, she’s now 30 and not 26 as she was in London, and she’s now a mum and both of those factors have to be taken into consideration.
“You’re gonna have to do a bit less training because of your age and because of childcare duties, so you have to make the best use of your time.
“I speak of it as ‘PP PBs’, which is ‘post-pregnancy personal bests’. I’m not trying to go back and look at Jess in her prime, training 30 hours a week, most days twice a day. We just can’t do that any more, so to draw a parallel between that person and the person now, I think is unfair.
“I made a conscious decision to wipe the slate clean and she starts from zero in every event.
“I try not to reflect back. She does, and I think that’s quite natural, but I don’t think it’s fair and I don’t think it’s sensible.”