Jessica Ennis


When Cathy Freeman stood on the 400m start line at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she had the hopes and fears of a whole nation on her shoulders. 49.11 seconds later, she was a gold medallist.

The same almost unbearable pressure was placed on London 2012 poster girl Jessica Ennis when she attempted to take heptathlon gold in her home Olympics.

And just like Freeman 12 years earlier, boy did Jess deliver.

The expectation heaped on Ennis – intensified by her heptathlon world title in 2009 - would have broken a lesser woman. Instead, it served only to inspire her. She recorded her best ever first-day score, including two personal bests, before sealing the deal on day two with another PB and a British and Commonwealth record points haul.

Her victory in the final event, the 800m, was achieved in front of an ecstatic crowd enjoying what became known as Super Saturday – the day Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford also won Olympic track and field gold.

A big Sheffield United supporter, Jessica has a stand named after her at Bramall Lane. Her beloved Blades will have to go a long way if they are to eclipse the achievements of their superstar fan.

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Jessica Ennis