A golden year for Sheffield alumna Jessica Ennis

Jessica Ennis 2012 Olympics

Sheffield’s very own Jessica Ennis, who graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Sheffield in 2007, brought home a gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics for the Heptathlon.

The pressure was on Jess, who has become the face of the London 2012 Olympics and has been subject to an intense media spotlight, to achieve the dreams of Olympic glory that her home city and the entire nation were praying for.

But Jessica thrived under pressure as the crowd cheered her on to the gold medal and a British and Commonwealth record score of 6,955 points, beating silver medallist Lilli Schwarzkopf by 306 points and bronze medallist Tatyana Chernova by a further 21 points.

Jess overcame the heartbreak of missing the Beijing 2008 Olympics due to injury to become the country's first heptathlon gold medallist at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, before winning gold again at the European Championships in Barcelona and scooping silver in Daegu in 2011.

Gold postbox for Jessica Ennis

The city celebrates

A civic reception was held for Jessica in Sheffield on Friday 17 August, with thousands turning up to Barkers’ Pool in the city centre to welcome home the city’s sporting heroine.
Alongside the huge banner of Jess at the local John Lewis store and a gold postbox painted in her honour, the crowd cheered as it was announced that Jessica would be presented with the Freedom of the City of Sheffield, later formally awarded to her at the full council meeting on 5 September.

The public will have the opportunity to listen to Jessica in an exclusive interview by fellow Sheffield alumnus and BBC Sports presenter Dan Walker, at the City Hall later this year. ‘An Evening with Jessica Ennis’ will take place on Friday 30 November and tickets are available to buy now from the City Hall Box Office.


Jessica, who still lives and trains in Sheffield, received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield in January 2010 and was made a Sheffield Legend after being nominated by Sheffield residents as bringing the city recognition at national or international level.

She is also patron of the University's Elite Sport Performance Scheme (ESPS), which was launched in 2009 to provide financial and non-financial support to talented student athletes at the University, who are representing England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland in one of Sport England's recognised sports.

Read more about the Elite Sport Performance Scheme.