Having started her athletic career aged 11, Jessica Ennis-Hill quickly established herself as one of Britain’s top junior athletes. She is now the current Olympic and world heptathlon champion and has previously triumphed at the European Championships and World Indoor Championships. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, Ennis-Hill won the gold medal in the heptathlon with a British and Commonwealth record score of 6,955 points.
Having grown up in Sheffield, Ennis-Hill was awarded the Freedom of the City in 2013 and appointed CBE in the 2013 New Year’s Honours list for services to athletics.
- What was your biggest career break?
My coach realising I had the potential to be a multi-eventer when I was in my early teens.
- Have you had a notable mentor – and if so what was it about them that was so inspiring?
I would have to say I have had more than one mentor in my life, but the stand-out people would be my mum, dad and my coach. My parents are so supportive and have always had great belief in me. My mum is a very strong and determined person and she instilled a great deal of confidence in me growing up. My coach has really shaped me as an athlete – steering me in the right direction as a young person.
- What one piece of advice would you give to the 20-year-old you?
As well as the highs there will be major lows, so not to get too down when things don’t go to plan – you will bounce back.
- What qualities to do you look for in the people you work with?
I have to have full trust in those I work with, so I look for integrity and loyalty.
- Who do you admire and why?
From a career perspective it would have to be Carolina Kluft, the Swedish heptathlete who was winning everything when I was first in the sport. She was the consummate professional, focused and driven but at the same time one of the nicest people you could meet.
- What does the future of your career look like?
I am nearing the end of my competitive career and want to go out on a high. I have the Rio Olympics as my next major competition and then I will assess what next.
- If you hadn’t chosen your current career, what would you have done instead?
I think I would have used my psychology degree in some way.
- What is your biggest extravagance?
- Who would you invite to your dream dinner party and why? (you can invite three people – they must be alive)
Will Smith – I’ve always wanted to meet him. I think he comes across as a lovely, genuine man despite his great success, and he’s very funny.
Kevin Spacey – I love him in House of Cards. He is such a great actor and I think would be a good dinner guest.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Need I say more!
- What do you do to relax away from work?
I spend quality time with my little boy Reggie and my husband Andy – we love to do family things and just enjoy the simple things in life.
- If you could change one thing about Britain today, what would it be?
The weather – less rain and more sunshine.
- What would your last meal be? (please choose a starter, a main course and a pudding)
That is such a hard question as I love my food and I’m very indecisive but I would probably go for Thai. I’d have spicy Thai fish cakes as my starter, Thai green curry and sticky rice for my main and then chocolate cheesecake for my pudding.