How Jessica Ennis coped with Olympic pressure

Before her first event at the London Olympics Jessica Ennis received the usual text message from her Mum. "Don’t let those big girls push you around," it read. No danger of that. Ennis, the poster girl for London 2012, met all the expectations and pressures to win gold.

In an interview with The Observer to promote her forthcoming autobiography Unbelievable, Ennis spoke about a motivation and competitive fight that seem at odds with her sunny personality.

"I think that's one of the first things you'd say if you met me, that I am just nice and smiley," she said. "And that's how I might appear when I'm not competing. But I'm totally different when it comes to sport. It's just something that seems to be within me. You have to be totally up for it and motivated otherwise you just wouldn't win. But it's not something that a lot of people see. Apart from maybe my family."

There were moments when she was not entirely happy about being the face of the Games. "This year has been really hard," she said. "I've always said that you're obviously doing something right if you have got pressure on you. It's difficult when you're in the thick of it, to fully comprehend, but when you step out and look back, I wouldn't want to do it again. Not unless I knew the outcome."

She even had the experience of being called 'fat' by an official. Just before the Olympics, she popped out to buy a bag of chips in Sheffield and noticed that there was a poster of herself looking superfit, 20 times lifesize above the chip shop. "I drove on to Sainsbury's instead," she said.

Since the Olympics, not all the attention has been welcome. She isn’t sure what to make of some of the salacious video material that has appeared online, including the 'Jessica Ennis perfect bum tribute.' "Ugh. I've actually seen that," she said. "It's all slow motion. That freaked me out a little bit."

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