Today it was announced that the Queen of British athletics, Jessica Ennis-Hill, is to retire from her glorious reign at the top. It’s been a magical ten years for Jess and I don’t think she’ll ever quite understand the impact she has not only had on the athletics community but as a role model to men and women everywhere.
After her post-event interview at the Rio Olympic games, Jess heavily hinted that this might be the final time she graced the track. However, we all still held out hope knowing she may come back for one last hurrah, at the London 2017 World Championships. Whilst I’m incredibly disappointed I won’t see her compete again, who can blame her for wanting to bow out after ten long years of being at the top of her game.
The mental and physical effects that the Heptathlon can have on you must be astronomical. Now with a small child in the picture, Jess’ dreams of standing on top of the podium for a final time would understandably become less and less paramount, when defining herself and her career.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t take anything away from what she has achieved in athletics; Olympic gold and silver medals, a European Gold (2010), a handful of indoor, junior and commonwealth medals, two world heptathlon titles (2009,15), soon to be three (2011), after the disqualification of the shameless Russian, Tatyana Chernova.
Whilst Jess may not have the chance to challenge for a final world title at the 2017 London world championships, wouldn’t it be a fitting end to a glistening career, if she was crowned 2011 world champion, and awarded a gold medal, in front of a home crowd next summer?
As well as her huge medal haul, on and off the track, Jess has been a role model to Brits everywhere. Jess is an idol to women and young girls, with any sort of body consciousness. She has taught us time and time again that skinny isn’t always the best, and that athletic girls are too, beautiful.
Whilst being aesthetically a heroine, she’s also a self-proclaimed advocated for young people and women’s rights. In 2014 she asked Sheffield United to remove her name from a stand at the club’s ground if it offered convicted rapist Ched Evans a contract at the club. Jess went on to say “I believe being a role model to young people is a huge honour and those in positions of influence in communities should respect the role they play in young people’s lives and set a good example. If Evans was to be re-signed by the club it would completely contradict these beliefs.”
Jessica Ennis-Hill has shown grace and professionalism at every turn, she has championed everything right about sport, and was always destined to be a star. Whilst we may never see her compete again, I’m so thankful that I had the opportunity to see such a superstar compete live. I’m also grateful, that as a child I had the chance to get her autograph and also speak to her in person, only then did I truly understand what a genuine, down to earth woman she was.
She’ll forever be missed by the athletics community, the jewel in the British athletics crown. I wish her all the best for her future endeavors and hope she takes her talent in other directions. But for now, I’d like to thank her for her services to sport and being the greatest female athlete Britain has ever had.
Long live the Queen.
Jessica Ennis, goodnight.