Jessica Ennis

Last Updated: 14/12/12 4:12pm

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Jessica Ennis had her most successful year in 2012, winning Olympic gold in the heptathlon, setting a new British record for the 100m hurdles in the process.

Fascinating Facts:

  • Her first prize won in athletics was a pair of trainers
  • Ennis has a life-sized waxwork at Madame Tussaud's
  • Was awarded an MBE in 2011
  • One of only ten women to jump a foot above height
  • Part-owned a racehorse which ran off and was hit by a car

The pin-up girl for the London Games coped superbly with the pressure put upon her in the lead-up to the home event and delivered to an incredibly high standard over the summer.

On the first day of her event, Ennis ran in the 100m hurdles and set a British record of 12.54secs, the fastest time set by a heptathlete in the event.

She continued with dominant performances in both the track and field events, going on to claim the gold medal on 'Super Saturday' in the Olympic Stadium.

The Sheffield athlete began in athletics at a young age, with an early visit to Don Valley Stadium leading to her meeting her coach Toni Minichiello, who has guided her to the very top of the sport.

Early in her junior career, Ennis showed her ability in the sprints, hurdling and the high jump, but could only finish eighth in the World Junior Championship heptathlon competition.

Improvement

A big senior breakthrough came at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne when she smashed her personal best by 350 points to land the bronze medal - although her 1.91m high jump would have claimed gold in the individual competition!

However, a stress fracture of the foot meant Ennis sadly missed out on the Olympics in Beijing, but it could have been even worse as she later revealed doctors thought it could end her career at the age of just 22.

Luckily, Ennis was able to get back into action but after 12 months out there were doubts over how good she would be. These doubts proved to be unfounded as she came back better than ever and powered away to World Championship gold.

Ennis led from start to finish in Berlin, after improving especially in the throwing events, to card a personal best score of 6,731 and win by 238 points from Germany's Jennifer Oeser.

The people of Sheffield welcomed home their heroine with a city centre reception and gifts including a Mulberry handbag and a canteen of Sheffield cutlery, but she was far from done there.

World Indoor pentathlon gold in Doha in 2010 came with a British, Commonwealth and championship record score, which she backed up with heptathlon gold at the following European Championship in Barcelona with a Championship record and just eight points off Denise Lewis' best mark.

She also holds a share of the outdoor British high jump record, and by clearing 1.95m she became one of only ten women to clear the bar set a foot above their own height.

Given an MBE in 2011 and with countless other awards since her success in London, Ennis is one of Britain's shining sporting stars.

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Jessica Ennis joins Sky Sports Living for Sport

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