JESSICA Ennis has revealed her focus on Olympic glory in London will necessitate being “rude” to friends and family.
The Sheffielder is desperate to win gold on home soil this summer, especially after losing her world heptathlon and pentathlon titles in the space of seven months.
The 26-year-old had enjoyed a long unbeaten run until finishing second behind Russia’s Tatyana Chernova in Daegu last year, while even a personal best was not enough to retain her World Indoor title in Istanbul, where Olympic champion Nataliya Dobrynska returned to form with a new world record.
And that means Ennis will be more focused than ever when she competes in London in August, where her parents, sister and fiance Andy will be in attendance.
“If I step out into the stadium I don’t look for my family and friends and if I do catch their eye I completely ignore them,” said Ennis, speaking at the launch of Jaguar’s Academy for Sport, of which she is an ambassador.
“I want to stay so focused so I blank them out and probably come across as quite rude.
“It can be a distraction, you just have to blank them out. You don’t want any other thoughts creeping into your head, anything that just slightly distracts you is a big negative.
“I don’t even know where they are sat most of the time, but they’ll just catch your eye and I’m like, ‘Damn, I don’t want to see them!’ They know the deal, that I’m trying to compete and it’s not about waving to the crowd and smiling to my family so they understand.”
Ennis is relishing the pressure of competing in a home Games as Britain’s athletes look to meet their target of eight medals, one of them gold.
But she admits it is a good idea for the team to escape the hype at home by spending time in a holding camp in Montegordo in Portugal immediately before the Games.
“I think the holding camp is a great idea,” the Sheffield athlete added. “It’s a great set up in Montegordo. It will be great just to get away out of the country, you are not switching your TV and seeing everything and you escape from it a bit.
“That will be the only time I get away before the Games.”
* The Jaguar Academy of Sport aims to recognise, celebrate and inspire the very best of British sporting talent and success, not just by providing financial help through our bursary programme, but also by bringing together talented youngsters and British sporting greats who help inspire them with that all-important winning mentality.