Britain's Olympic golden girl Jessica Ennis reveals she was a victim of bullying at school
19:43 GMT, 5 November 2012
Jessica Ennis the pint sized Olympic heptathlon medal winner who wowed crowds this summer in London with her sporting prowess. and walked away with gold, has revealed she was bullied at school.
Standing at just 5ft 5 inches, with her incredible muscles on display and angelic faced steeled with determination, Ennis became a symbol of Britain’s success in the London 2012 games and a poster girl for a new generation of girls who wanted to be just like her.
But in her memoir, Unbelievable, Ennis reports that it was her very athleticism and small stature that the bullies who taunted her focused on.
National treasure: Ennis takes a throw in the javelin heptathlon during the athletics in the 2012 Summer Olympics
Now a national celebrity, aged just 26, with numerous endorsement deals and glamorous photo shoots under her belt, it is hard to imagine Ennis as anything other than composed and confident.
But Ennis told the Guardian: ‘I was just different. I was such a scraggy little thing. And there were these two big girls who just used to pick on me.’
She also confesses her training made making friends hard: ' 'Everyone else drifted away. Every year, I'd be training with a different group, because people didn't stick at it.'
As an Olympic Gold Medalist Jessica has found fame, but is continuing to stay dedicated to her sport
The book, ghost-written by sportswriter Rick Broadbent, implies this experience of bullying in her childhood is what has spurred Jess on to achieve so much in her athletic career.
Ennis told the Guardian that her mother’s pre-competition text, which she even sent before the Olympics races, is still ‘Don't let those big girls push you around.’
The heptathlon is one of the most extreme and varied events in the Olympics, made up of seven events – the 100 m hurdles, high jump, shot put, the 200 meter sprint, long jump, the javelin throw and the 800 meter race, it requires immense physical and mental strength and endurance to complete.
Jessica admits that her sweet and smiling exterior – which made her such a good ambassador for the London 2012 Games, can be deceiving: ‘I'm totally different when it comes to sport. It's just something that seems to be within me. It's not external or visual. But it's 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.’
Driven: Whatever is behind Jessica's motivation, it is clear she will go on to compete-and no doubt succeed-now with the hopes of Briton on her shoulders
Despite her success and new found fame and celebrity status, which she describes as 'weird', Jessica has not taken her eyes off her athletics and the intense drive, determination and focus that led to Olympic medals is still there.
It was recently confirmed, by her coach Toni Minichiello, that Ennis will compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,
'Jessica will be at Glasgow 2014, definitely,' said Minichiello.
'That is absolutely the competition plan for us looking ahead. She has not won the Commonwealth title before.