JESSICA ENNIS-HILL Q+A WITH OMEGA
14 August, 2016
Rio de Janeiro:
How was your Rio 2016 experience? What feelings will you take away from Rio?
The experience has been incredible. To get here and to be lining up on the start line before the hurdles, in one piece, having had some really challenging years leading into this Olympic Games has just been incredible to be here. And especially to compete and come away with a silver medal.
Going into the final two events, 800m and javelin, you were in second place. What was going through your mind in the hours before? Were you reflecting on the day or focusing solely on the job ahead?
I was definitely looking ahead. Within the heptathlon you have events that go well and go to plan and then you have events that don’t go as well as you would have hoped. It’s about moving on from those events. I just had to refocus myself and focus on the javelin and the 800m and just try to maximise my points score in those two events. So I was definitely focusing on what was to come.
In the 800m, you had a clear time that you had to win by. (9.47 seconds). Had you broken the timings of that race down before you began. Or were you just intent on running as hard as you could?
I was aware of the time difference and that I had to beat her by that amount of time. Obviously that’s a big distance within the 800m so it was a very tall ask. But I lined up on the 800m and I was just ready to give it everything I’ve got. I knew I had to run the first lap in around about 61 or 62 seconds and then just wind the time up. I just ran my heart out. I ran as fast as I could in that moment. I gave everything but unfortunately it wasn’t enough for the gold but it was enough for the silver.
Did you find Rio tougher than London?
It was a completely different experience. I think London was my first Olympic Games, it was all very new. And it was just that feeling of, when everything comes together, on that one occasion, everything just flowed, everything was perfect. This time, it’s been a little bit more of a challenge. I’m an older athlete. I’ve had injuries. I’ve steeped away from my sport for a couple of years. It’s been a really challenging few years. But to get here, eventually in one piece and to win a silver medal, both Olympic Games have been equally as incredible.
What emotions did the event bring out in you?
Just mixed emotions. Obviously relief, having just got through the two days. It was two really long days and it was physically draining and emotionally draining. And I was just really proud to come to my second Olympic Games and come away with a silver medal. And then there were all the emotions of the decisions that I have to make now. Whether that was my last competition ever or whether that’s my last heptathlon, whether I move on for another year or retire now. So it was just a really emotional moment, knowing that that was definitely my last Olympic Games but whether it would be my last competition.
How will you make those decisions?
I think it’s just for me to sit down and really think about what I want to achieve from the rest of my career. I feel very happy and content in the career that I’ve had over the past few years and the medals I’ve achieved so far. It’s really a decision about motivation. Have I got that drive and motivation to keep going or am I content and satisfied with what I’ve achieved? The heptathlon is a tough event, it’s one of the toughest events, and the training it requires, and the time, the physical and mental energy is exhausting. So it’s a big decision. Athletics has been a huge part of my life for so long, so it’ll be a tough decision to make.
What are your immediate plans and what are you focusing on today?
Literally just get home. I can’t wait to walk through the front door and see my husband and my little boy and give him a big hug. I just want to celebrate with my immediate family and then just see everyone and have a big celebration definitely.
As a mum, how have you found being away from your family for so long and competing?
Being a Mum now, life is so different. Before I was a mother it was just solely focusing about me and my performances and now it’s very different. It’s incredibly hard to be away from my family and I miss them so much. But equally, I know I’m away hopefully making them proud and doing something really special in this particular moment in time.