Jessica Ennis-Hill has predicted that the legacy of her achievements at London 2012 will see more girls take up Athletics from a younger age.
Ennis-Hill, who won a gold medal in the heptathlon at the Olympics last summer, spoke to Fabulous Magazine about a number of messages she has received about young girls taking up the sport in the wake of her victory.
“I get lots of tweets from young girls who are so excited to be taking up things such as running, but it’s going to take a couple of years to build that up,” the 27-year-old told Fabulousmag.co.uk.
“I saw it at school and with my younger sister [Carmel, now a nursery nurse] – girls don’t really want to do sports when they get to 12 or 13, because there are other things going on in their life and they don’t want to put shorts on and reveal parts of their body.
“But, now I feel like we are showing a different side to sport and that you can be feminine and powerful at the same time and achieve great things.
The Sheffield born athlete also thinks that being in the public spotlight gives her a chance to set an example to young people about how to keep a healthy lifestyle, particularly since her success in the capital.
“I got a lot of messages from parents saying thank you for giving their daughter a positive body image.
“You know, someone who’s fit and healthy, and not a typical size-zero model.
“I’ve been showcasing a very different body type to what’s normally out there – a healthy body, and that can only be a good thing.”
With the World Championships in Moscow taking place in August, the 2010 European champion went on to talk about the short time athletes have at the top of their game, and the importance of sponsorship.
She said: “I think people sometimes forget that athletics is amateur and it’s only really when you win medals and get to a certain level that you get the sponsorship, which helps you become a professional and make it a full-time job. You’re not paid a salary from the federation or anything like that. Sponsors are a huge, huge part of success.”
“You’ve got a really small window. As an athlete, you’re not going to be around for that long and you’re certainly not going to be at your peak, so you have to make the most of it. It’s your job and you have to think about the future, because you potentially retire in your early 30s.”
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