LONDON (Reuters) - Motherhood has changed her focus, and injury remains a concern, but Jessica Ennis-Hill is in an “amazing place” as she prepares for the last Olympic Games of her glittering career.
With 100 days to go until the opening ceremony in Rio, Britain’s world and Olympic heptathlon champion said on Tuesday she already felt 2016 would be unlike any other year for her.
“I’m preparing to go into an Olympics in a completely different way to last time. I’m having injury struggles and things are up and down but I’m in an amazing place now,” she said.
“I’m really happy, I’m content with life and enjoying athletics and enjoying my personal life,” Ennis-Hill told a ‘Thank You Mum’ afternoon tea event, organized by Olympic sponsor P&G with her mother Alison alongside.
“It’s scary because it (Rio) is not far away and I just want to do the best I can possibly do and it will be my last Olympics — fingers crossed I can get there — so I just want to enjoy it and make the most of it.”
The 30-year-old has yet to decide whether to continue competing until the 2017 world championships, at the London stadium where she won gold in 2012, or call it a day after Rio.
What Britain’s Olympic poster girl does know, however, is that every minute away from her one-year-old son Reggie has to be justified.
Ennis-Hill won the heptathlon world title in Beijing last August, 13 months after she gave birth, but a subsequent Achilles injury has forced her to miss the indoor season.
She said there had been moments of doubt along the way as she juggled motherhood and training, wondering whether she could ever be the same athlete.
Her son, who is already doing boisterous laps around the living room, provided her with plenty of motivation.
“I still have that drive to want to push on a little bit further, and to have these great memories to look back on and show Reggie,” she said.
“I wanted to make sure that I trained hard and got real quality sessions because Reggie was my motivation... I wanted him to know that I had him and then achieved this great thing after having him.
“He was a huge motivation for me last year and definitely will be for me this year as well.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ken Ferris