All set for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Miss Ennis?
That’s Ms Ennis-Hill, who yesterday announced she won’t be competing at the competition in Glasgow as she is pregnant. In a statement announcing the news, she said: “I am sorry I won’t be in Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games, but know it will be an amazing occasion. I will be at home awaiting the arrival of a little Ennis-Hill.”
Bless. We’ll start knitting the running shoes. Who’s Mr Hill?
Andy Hill, a construction site manager, is Ennis’s childhood sweetheart. After winning the nation’s hearts at the London 2012 Olympics, the heptathlete walked down the aisle with him this summer – and from now on his surname will also sit alongside hers on the front of her Team GB kit.
So she will be back?
Most certainly. “My plans for 2014 have been completely turned upside down,” she said. “But having had a couple of weeks to think about things from a career point of view I am 100 per cent set on returning to full-time athletics once our baby is born and go for a second gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016 – that challenge really excites me.” Judging on the performance of other mothers who have returned to athletics, she’ll be set in good stead.
Interestingly, there are numerous recent examples of elite sportswomen going on to still greater achievements post-pregnancy. Paula Radcliffe won the New York marathon in November 2007, 10 months after her first child was born. US marathon runner Kara Goucher set a personal best at the 2011 Boston marathon, a year after giving birth. And British long-distance runner Jo Pavey recorded the second-fastest time for a British athlete in the 10,000m at the 2012 Olympics – watched by her three-year-old son Jacob.
Will we bring home fewer medals?
Probably. Despite struggling with injury for much of last year, Ennis-Hill would have been one of the favourites for gold in Glasgow. Morale may also be affected. She starred on what became known as ‘Super Saturday’ at the London Olympics when, aided by Mo Farah and Greg Rutherford, she helped Team GB bring home three gold medals in one evening.