Former Olympic heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis-Hill announced her retirement from track and field on Thursday, ending the career of one of Britain’s most successful sportswomen.
The 30-year-old Ennis-Hill won the heptathlon gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, won a second world championship gold a year after giving birth to her first child, and won silver at the this year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
“I’ve always said I want to leave my sport on a high and have no regrets,” she said in a post on Twitter and Instagram , “and I can truly say that.”
The poster girl for the London Games, Ennis-Hill is among the most popular sportspeople in Britain and widely regarded as a role model to upcoming athletes.
“Her record as an athlete is phenomenal and that’s without considering the challenges of returning from pregnancy to win world gold and Olympic silver,” said Neil Black, performance director at British Athletics. “I’d like to thank her not only for her contribution to the GB team over the years, but additionally for being a great person to work with, know and support.”
Ennis-Hill took time out of the sport to give birth to son Reggie – forcing her to miss the 2014 Commonwealth Games – and hinted about ending her 11-year professional career immediately after winning the silver medal in Rio, behind Nafissatou Thiam of Belgium.
“From my first world title in Berlin 2009 to Rio 2016, I’m so fortunate to have had such an amazing career within the sport I love and this has been one of the toughest decisions I’ve had to make,” she said. “But I know that retiring now is right.”
An excellent sprint hurdler and long jumper, Ennis-Hill broke through in 2006 by winning bronze in the heptathlon at her only Commonwealth Games.
Other career highlights included winning heptathlon gold at the 2010 European Championships and winning the world indoor pentathlon title the same year. She dominated the heptathlon between 2009-12, a period that culminated in Ennis-Hill handling home pressure to win Olympic gold.