Jessica Ennis won Olympic gold for hosts Britain in heptathlon
Ennis first of three track and field winners for hosts on Saturday
She admits to feeling the pressure as poster girl of the Games
Medals more important than money for the 26-year-old
Jessica Ennis is set to cash in after winning heptathlon gold for Olympic hosts Great Britain, but fame and fortune are not the motivation for the poster girl of London 2012.
“If there was no money, I’d still be here doing it. I just want to achieve all I can achieve in sport and win medals and that’s the most important thing,” the 26-year-old told CNN.
However, Ennis is aware of some of the commercial opportunities that will come her way in the aftermath of the Games
“I also want to enjoy some of the things that are going to come up as well as a result of this but more than anything I’m just so happy and relieved I was able to get the gold and that’s the most important thing for me,” she said.
Ennis set the capacity crowd in the Olympic Stadium alight last Saturday as she powered to victory in the heptathlon’s final event over 800 meters to set the seal on a dominant performance.
“You know people really expected me to win, to do well, it was still a great position to be in though because I’d not experienced anything like that before,” she said.
“I just tried to use all that pressure and turn it into positiveness and support.”
Ennis came up just 45 points shy of the magical 7,000 mark for the seven events, which was the fifth best tally in heptathlon history.
The 2009 world champion took a commanding lead from the start and never let up.
“I knew how hard it was going to be, and it’s not just one day – it’s two days of really tough competition. I knew that I just had to really keep my eye on the ball and not get distracted by what other people expected of me,” Ennis said.
Her triumph has been met with acclaim across Britain, which is third in the medal table with 22 golds – three more than at Beijing 2008, with four days to go.
Many have rushed to congratulate her, but so far nothing official from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
“I’ve not had a call from the Prime Minister, no,” Ennis said.
She is reminded that President Barack Obama is regularly on the line to successful American athletes.
“Does he? I’ll have to have a word then,” said Ennis, with a smile on her face.