Ennis-Hill, who will find out next month if she has won the 2016 Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award, has not yet announced what her plans are beyond the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
But, in an interview with Laureus.com, she said: “It’s going to be a decision to make, whether I retire after Rio or whether I decide to do one more year and go to the World Championships [in London] and retire after that. But I definitely won’t be going on any longer than 2017. It would be quite a buzz to compete there.”At the moment, Britain’s Ennis-Hill, who won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics, says she is totally focused on Rio, although she refuses to admit that she is favourite. “People will obviously expect me to just keep performing at a high level and winning gold medals. Unfortunately it’s not that easy. And this year is going to be more challenging just because of the level of competition. Everyone has stepped up their game.
“It’s going to be tough and I think I’m definitely not the favourite. I think there’s Brianne Theisen; and I think Katarina Johnson-Thompson – she had her disappointments last year – is going to want to come back and make amends for what happened in Beijing.”
Ennis-Hill has been nominated for the Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award after winning the World Championship gold medal, a year after giving birth to son Reggie.
She said: “It’s a huge honour for me personally. Last year was one of the greatest years of my career and for it to be recognised on a global stage is very exciting. It was quite nerve‑racking stepping back on to the world stage again, not feeling as prepared as I normally am. But I still knew that I really wanted it. I wanted to make sure I didn’t come back disappointed and I didn’t come back empty‑handed. So to step away with the gold medal was more than I could ever have imagined and wished for that year.”
Did she give the gold medal to son Reggie? “Not quite. But I did put it around his neck as soon as I got back, and he just chewed on it for a bit,” she said.
In the interview, she also looked back to London 2012, when she became the darling of the home British crowd by winning the heptathlon gold medal, a feat for which she subsequently received the Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award.
She said: “I have so many memories from 2012. It was just an incredible experience, incredible Games. And for me, it’s always that feeling that I had when I stepped out into the stadium for the first time to line up for the hurdles. Seeing that incredible crowd and seeing the stadium at that time in the morning; and you’re ready to just perform and do what you’ve been training for, for so many years. It was incredible. I’ll never, ever forget those two days.”
The Comeback category is particularly strong this year, Jessica Ennis-Hill is up against some of the biggest names in sport – Rugby Player of the Year Dan Carter, surfer Mick Fanning, the most decorated Olympian Michael Phelps, Kenya’s 800 metres world champion David Rudisha and US ski legend Lindsey Vonn.
To see the full list of Nominees go to: http://lwsa16.laureus.com/nominees/