Jessica Ennis

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Sheffield born Jessica Ennis, 27, is a household name for becoming the Olympic Heptathlon Champion after wining gold in London at the 2012 Olympic Games. The heptathlon is a test of physical ability through seven events; 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin throw and 800m. She was also the face of the Olympics for publicity prior to the games, which made the public much more aware of her than other competitors of ‘Team GB’. I can imagine she was undera lot of added pressure due to the extra attention that she was receiving. Despite this on ‘Super Saturday’ Ennis went onto the track with only the 800m between her and Olympic gold. Hearts were pounding across the country until there was a collective nationwide cheer, when she achieved a new personal best score of 6955 and brought home that precious gold!

Not only is Ennis an incredibly successful athlete but she is also a graduate of SheffieldUniversity where she gained a degree in Psychology. She is a very intelligent woman and a great role model to all. I particularly liked her comments on the BBC  Radio 5 live’s, ‘Body Beautiful’ section.  Ennis revealed on the programme that she worries about the way she looks, just like, “every other girl around the world… There’s a kind of perfect figure that’s put out in magazines but it’s not realistic.” Ennis believes that young girls do not want to participate in sports because of the impact it will make on their bodies, they fear that their bodies will become too muscular.

Ennis also confessed that she “hated” lifting weights as a teenager because she knew they would change the way she looked. “You want to be the same as everyone else and look the same as your friends. Obviously you can’t become Olympic champion or world champion without having a strength-conditioning programme. I had to realise there was a bigger picture.” Furthermore she suggests a method to tackle this problem, “If sportswomen are put out there a bit more, it creates a real healthy body image for young girls to aspire to.”

 Prior to the Olympic games Ennis received negative comments about her weight. But she proved the critics wrong and even completed the 110m hurdle in a record time for a heptathlon. She triumphed despite the unkind comments about her body, which is yet another reason why Jessica Ennis has been an inspiration in 2012. She now wants to get more women involved in sport because she thinks it is important for young girls to have positive female role models in the sports industry rather than the unhealthy body role models in certain magazines.. She later added that “We need more coverage of women’s sport, and we need to get women involved in coaching and administration.” Something I whole heartedly support.