Olympic athlete Jessica Ennis ran, raced and leapt into the history books with her gold medal winning performance in the London 2012 heptathlon, but it was her likeable girl next door demeanour and gritted determination in the face of adversity that earned her a place in the hearts of sports fans the world over. The 26-year-old became an icon at London 2012, appearing on the front cover of TIME magazine after roaring to victory in the Games’ gruelling seven event spectacle. Despite the inordinate amount pressure heaped on her shoulders – Ennis missed the 2008 Olympics through injury and was expected to make up for lost time in front of a medal-hungry British crowd – the Sheffield competitor delivered a series of personal bests en route to the podium, including a 100m hurdles time so strong it would have won gold in the standalone hurdles competition in all but two Olympics.
Among her other accolades are European and World heptathlon titles and national British records in the indoor pentathlon, heptathlon, pentathlon and hurdles. But with the 2014 Commonwealth Games looming and more records to add to her ever expanding list of accomplishments, don’t expect Ennis to rest on her laurels.