Martin Smith column: Jessica Ennis-Hill proved doubters wrong

Jess proved she is queen of athletics again
Jess proved she is queen of athletics again

Did anyone seriously doubt her?

Could anyone with a knowledge of sport and a grasp of her story even think that Jessica Ennis wouldn’t be back to her best and winning titles?

Yes, actually they did. Not in these columns but out there in a more harsh and critical world there were plenty. And you can bet your life that on some those dark winter mornings when she had to leave the warmth of her bed and her baby Reggie to go running that Jessica herself was one of them.

Not that she ever doubted her own ability but you can assume she wondered at times if it was worth all the pain and sweat of a gruelling winter training schedule and the battle against injuries. She was the face of the 2012 Olympics with all the pressure that brought on her and she took it in her golden stride.

Now she’s world champion again as though she’d just had a couple of weeks off. Back in June Jess said she had felt the ‘ping’ of her competitiveness come back: “I’ve still got that competitive edge, I’ve still got that strength to dig deep”.

And the absolute strength and quality to win back her world crown. There aren’t enough honours in the world to give her…

Speaking of competitiveness, who knew?

Who knew Australia would win the last Ashes test, dig in and finish the job despite their series loss and a trouncing at Trent Bridge? Who thought both nations would revert to their gut level responses and come up with performances that told you what you needed to know about their respective national attitudes to sport, winning and mental toughness?

When England were four down in Australia last January did we think Alistair Cooke would lead his team to a doddle of a win because it didn’t really matter to Australia?

Did we chuff!

What mattered to Australia then was being able to pose for pictures after the final test in Sydney holding up five fingers to rub in their dominance.


They’ve had a metaphorical cigar on since Trent Bridge.

We’ve given the Aussies more fuel for their young-country aggression towards us that makes them such hard-bitten competitors.

It wouldn’t be right or fair to say England weren’t trying.

They just didn’t need to win.

Australian teams always need to win.

That’s the difference.