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GOOD QUEEN JESS; REIGNING SUPREME Ennis: I'll relax and enjoy moment She could make pounds 5m in three years.


IT turned out to be the greatest night in British athletics history... and heptathlon golden girl Jessica Ennis was the queen of it.

The Team GB heroine, 26, showed steel, grit and determination as she sprinted across the line in her final 800m run on Super Saturday before collapsing exhausted on the track.

Her achievement came on the same night the nation was done proud by Greg Rutherford, who leapt for gold in the long jump, and Mo Farah, who stormed to victory in the 10,000m.

Jessica, who was pictured looking regal in a crown yesterday as she messed around in a novelty photo booth, said she could not take her eyes off the medal she has always craved.

"I slept for about two hours," she said.

"I just kept looking at my medal and thinking about what I've achieved. I looked at it as soon as I woke up and I'll look at it every day."

Jessica could now become one of our richest sportswomen. Simon Chadwick, professor of sport business strategy and marketing at Coventry University Business School, expects her earnings to double to pounds 2million over the next year after her historic win.

He said yesterday: "She already has a strong catalogue of endorsements such as Jaguar, Powerade, British Airways, Aviva and Olay."

PR guru Max Clifford reckons Jessica, who drives a pounds 78,930 Jaguar XKR, could net pounds 5million in the next few years. He said: "It's a wonderful opportunity - obviously financially but also from a social point of view. She will be at the top of everyone's list. She is such a great advert for us as a nation."

The weight of expectation was so great Jess switched off from the outside world, ignoring Twitter and constant media coverage of her chances.

"People thought all I had to do was cross the line on to the track to take gold but it does not work like that," said Jess, who yesterday showed off her precious prize to thousands of people in a fan zone in London's Hyde Park.

"My fiance Andy Hill got the worst of it. I was really aware of all the expectation.

I was wondering whether it would fall apart, so it was a huge amount of pressure.

"I had to make sure I trained as hard as I could and delivered on those two days. Now I'm going to relax, eat lots of rubbish food, have a few glasses of wine and enjoy this moment."

Jessica was already the pride of Sheffield but her exploits on Super Saturday seem to have inspired the whole of her home city. Her victory was witnessed on a big screen at the Don Valley Stadium by a crowd of 2,000 fans.

One of them, Lizzie Stringer, 11, wants to follow in her footsteps after watching the local hero compete.

Her mum Juliet, 39, said: "It was absolutely fantastic to see Jess win. We will remember it for a very long time. She had all that pressure on her but she took it all in and won.

"Lizzie has been talking about her non-stop. We went to the Institute of Sport yesterday and she had a go at long jump, high jump and javelin, all the things that Jessica does. There were lots of kids there having a go. Jessica is going to be a great inspiration."

Juliet's husband Chris, 50, added: "I was feeling a number of emotions when she won; pride and jubilation that she has done it. It was fantastic, she is the golden girl of British athletics.

"She comes across as a humble girl who will go out of her way to promote sport and promote Sheffield. It will re-affirm Sheffield as a sporting city. Lizzie is Jessica Ennis mad this morning, she wants to be the next Jessica. She has really inspired her. Lizzie has done nothing but talk about athletics. She was so TEAM inspired by her."

Fan Jessica Burton, 17, said: "We love her, we love her, we love her. I am so proud to be from the same city as Jess."

Mum-of-two Caroline Hart, 44, said: "Jess was absolutely phenomenal. It it blew me away. I think it blew the whole world away really. She did it but it's the way she did it, it just sums Jess up. We've been here all day... What a great day, perfect."

Jessica, who set a new GB heptathlon record in front of 80,000 screaming fans, still competes for Northern League Sheffield Athletic Club.

Its chairman Mike Corden said she is a "phenomenon". He revealed: "Jess was nicknamed the Jumping Flea when she first joined us at 13 because she was so small but now she is the Olympic champion."

He said that the club already has a waiting list of children hoping to follow in her footsteps. He added: "Our kids in the club are inspired by her. They are so proud of her.

He joined Jess in praising long-term coach Toni Minichiello. He said: "Toni has been with her since she was a kid. She has always had the same coach."

Mr Corden told how one team manager sent her a text message hours after making history, asking her to turn out for them yesterday. "What is so funny is that if she could, she would - and she'd want to win!" he added.

Chris Eccles, who taught Jessica at Sheffield's King Ecgbert School, said all his pupils knew of Jess's achievements. "They are inspired by seeing someone from their own town being so successful," he said. "They see people like Jess as great role models."

hool, said all hievements. ng someone being so see people els."

Olympics supremo Lord Coe said yesterday that "never in my wildest dreams" did he expect Team GB's historic medal-winning exploits.

He said of Jessica: "I've never seen an athlete perform in that way, over two days, but she just walked out into the stadium on the first day and I looked at her and said, 'You're not going to lose this'. I don't think in my wildest d Coe said my wildest am GB's ploits. ever hat he he d d,. t dreams I saw it unfolding in the way it did." n Sheffield Labour MP David Blunkett said: "She is the princess of Sheffield, who has lifted the hearts of the nation and provided an inspiration for young athletes." d he has ation ation about He of TEAM GB bosses say they want the Olympic Stadium kept as an athletics arena. But football teams including West Ham have drawn It blew up plans to take it over.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2012
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