University of Sheffield graduate Jessica Ennis storms to heptathlon gold at London 2012
5 August 2012
The University of Sheffield has spoken of its pride as Jessica Ennis struck gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games after a phenomenal performance in the women’s heptathlon.
The 26-year-old, who graduated in Psychology back in 2007 has been one of the faces of this year’s Games, and overcame huge pressure to succeed in front of a home crowd at the Olympic Stadium.
A time of 2:08 minutes in the 800m secured top spot, beating both defending champion Natalyia Dobrynska and current world champion Tatyana Chernova after two fantastic days of competition across seven events.
Seconds after her sensational victory in the 800m, the University tweeted: "You are amazing @J_Ennis! Olympic gold in the Heptathlon! We are so proud of you <3"
Alison Muir, Alumni Relations Manager at the University of Sheffield, added: “The University is very proud of all of its alumni that are representing their country at the Olympics.”
Ennis began the competition with a British record time in the 100m hurdles of 12.54 seconds to take the lead, and consolidated that with a solid leap of 1.86m in the high jump.
She dropped off the top after the shot put but soon regained it with a storming personal best of 22.83 seconds in the 200m.
On the second day, a jump of 6.48m in the long jump, and a personal best throw in the javelin, usually one of her weakest disciplines meant she was all but assured of the gold medal going in to the final event, the 800m.
Before becoming Olympic champion, Ennis was combining her studies at the University of Sheffield with athletic competition, and was thankful for the help she received from her institution.
“The Psychology Department was really supportive of me during my three years there,” she said.
“It was especially hard in the third year when I was working on my dissertation. I had to balance my academic work with training and technical work. I train six days a week, but luckily the degree was flexible in that I didn't have to spend lots of time sitting in lectures. I'm really glad I did it. I met lots of people, and the University was a great help with funding when I competed at the World University Championships.”
After graduating, Ennis missed out on the 2008 Games in Beijing with a foot injury, but a year later hit the headlines when she became the world heptathlon champion. Despite only managing a silver medal in the defence of her title in 2011, she was still tipped as a hot favourite for London 2012, and has not disappointed.
By Christopher Finch
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