Update: Golden girl Jessia Ennis crowned Olympic heptathlon champion as Britain celebrates first track medal of London Games
For two days she had held it together, smiling at the crowd, delivering a thumbs up to the camera and performing as though the London 2012 Olympics was the most fun she had since a primary school sports day.
And then, as about 50,000 people who had stayed behind until 10.30pm to witness a delayed medal ceremony broke into song with God Save the Queen, a bottom lip quivered, her eyes welled up and finally Ennis cracked and cried.
Read more at Daily Mail
This is the fourth in a series of articles leading up to the start of the 2012 Olympics in London on July 27. Each will highlight an athlete and the aspects of his or her sport that make it an example of great design. Today, Jessica Ennis of Great Britian, Heptathlon.
Great design and then some, Jessica Ennis is nearly flawless in design. The British heptathlete has the face of a model, a winning smile, graceful athleticism, and a small but muscular 5-foot-5 frame that refuses to provide a home for excess body fat. And by the way, she’s one of the best female athletes in the world. It’s pretty easy to see why the stunning Ennis has become Great Britain’s poster child for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The 26-year-old native of Sheffield, England has proven to be adept in an event that takes athletic ability on a number of different levels, and her list of accomplishments bears that out. Ennis was the world champion in the heptathlon in 2009 and the European champ in 2010. She also earned a silver medal in the heptathlon at the 2011 world championships.
Ennis’ resume is strong enough to give her Olympic cred, but she recently added to it by setting a British heptathlon record with a score of 6,906 points in the event at a meet in Gotzis, Austria in late May.
Ennis missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of a stress fracture in her right foot. But she’s healthy for the Summer Games and appears poised for a big summer.
When referring to the heptathlon, it’s not the sport, but really the sports you’re talking about. Seven track and field events in two days isn’t for the timid.
Day 1 features, in order, the 100-meter run, high jump, shot put, and 200-meter run. The event wraps up on the second day with the long jump, javelin, and 800-meter run. The great design in the heptathlon is the fact that the event tests several completely different athletic disciplines and skills, and, unlike other world-class athletes who can focus on training for just one event, heptathletes have to master seven of them , and each test the athlete in slightly different ways. It’s a cornucopia of athletic achievement where each event has its own requirements.
100-METER RUN: Explosive speed, and efficient body movement.
HIGH JUMP: Requires outstanding technical execution, perfect timing, and a sudden momentum shift to do what seems impossible: clear a bar nearly more than six feet high (Ennis’ best is roughly 6-feet, 5-inches).
SHOT PUT: Brute strength isn’t the only skill needed in the shot put. Excellent balance and momentum shift are also required to hurl the nearly nine-pound metal ball.
200-METER RUN: Similar athletic requirements as the 100, but the added length means a more grueling run, which can be mentally taxing.
LONG JUMP: Timing, rhythm and speed all factor into success at this event, where excellent precision is needed to hit the jump board perfectly.
JAVELIN: Another throw that requires good timing, very little wasted movement, and perfect geometry.
800-METER RUN: A tired athlete gets to finish with a 1/2-mile run that tests endurance, speed, and mental toughness. It’s a brutal way to finish the heptathlon.
Video: Jessica Ennis, Heptathlon
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