In her own words, Jessica Ennis-Hill reflects on her achievements…
I’ve got incredible, consistent people around me.
I’ve lived in Sheffield all my life and if I’d moved to London or LA, I would probably have changed.
It would’ve been very hard not to, but my friends and family – including my husband Andy, who I’ve known since school – have kept me down-to-earth.
When I retired, I enjoyed having a bit of time to step out of the limelight and not be in the forefront
I was in a bubble for the 2012 Olympics.
There was so much ‘noise’ about me. Like I said, I had good people around me, so fame has never gone to my head.
I’d see ad campaigns with pictures of me on them, and I’d just laugh it off and keep focused on what I was doing. It was all so surreal.
Everything that’s happened through my life and career has been for a reason.
I have no regrets except maybe not listening to my body at times, when I was younger and without the injuries – not thinking that rest is as good as performing.
I had to miss the 2008 Beijing Olympics because of an injury. Though perhaps I wouldn’t have been motivated enough to go on and get Olympic gold in 2012 if that hadn’t happened.
Sisters are funny things.
My earliest memory is of my sister being born. I was at my grandparent’s house and I remember Mum ringing to say that she’d given birth and they were naming her Carmel.
I was three years old. We’ve had lots of ups and downs through our time. In our teenage years we battled and absolutely hated each other. But now we’re very close and get on so incredibly well; it’s a very special kind of friendship.
As a child I think I was very annoying – very bossy and determined, but actually a little bit shy.
I was non-stop running around at 100 miles per hour, was very competitive and wanted to do everything first. It’s funny because I see so many of those traits in my three-year-old daughter, Liv.
Believe in what you do because it’s unique.
If I could say something to my teenage self it would be to just trust in what you’re doing. Enjoy your athletics career. Be patient.
Yes, it’s hard when you just want to blend in with your friends and go to a party on a Saturday night. But stick with it because in the scheme of things these will be very small sacrifices to make.
The best piece of advice I have been given was from my coach.
He told me to just focus on myself. Whether you’re a sportsperson or not, don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing.
Now that I’ve retired, I find it especially relevant with social media. You can end up looking at someone’s Instagram, thinking, ‘Oh she’s got a perfect life or a perfect living room’, but you know that isn’t necessarily true.
My loved ones find it hilarious that I’m a Dame.
It was such an honour to get that award. When the call came, I couldn’t believe it.
I’d already been to Buckingham Palace to collect my CBE and thought that would be my last time there. Getting the damehood made my family so proud. You soak up these moments.
The year before these photos were taken, I’d been injured and had missed out on the Olympics.
It wasn’t just the lowest point of my career, I also thought I’d never be able to compete again.
But, with the help of my team, I got back to full strength. I was completely ready and I had so much drive and hunger, I just wanted to go out there and blow everyone away.
And I did – I won the heptathlon gold medal at the World Championships.
It’s so strange because you work so hard for something – particularly when it comes off such a massive setback – and then it suddenly happens.
I’d never experienced anything like it. Getting my first global medal, having the Union Jack draped on me, doing the lap of honour and waving to the crowd, surrounded by photographers…
And then I thought, “Oh, they’re all going to expect me to win all the time now.”
Jessica Ennis-Hill is the brand ambassador for Sleepeezee