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Stand for our Jess

PUBLISHED

06:00 31st August 2012

She's the golden girl of British sport - and now she's the golden girl at Sheffield United.


From this weekend the name of Jessica Ennis will feature big and bright at Bramall Lane with the naming of a stand to honour her achievements at the London 2012 Olympics where she won heptathlon gold in front of 80,000 ecstatic fans and a UK television audience of more than 16 million people.


In recognition of the achievements of the 26-year-old from Sheffield, who is now known as 'our Jess' in the city, the Blades have re-named the Bramall Lane stand: The Jessica Ennis Stand.


"It is an appropriate and fitting tribute to re-name our Bramall Lane double tier stand after one of the finest athletes this country has ever produced," said Sheffield United owner Kevin McCabe.


"Jessica and her family are Unitedites and after discussions with them we all agreed that renaming the Bramall Lane stand after her would provide an additional sporting legacy from the London games, a permanent reminder that will hopefully act as an inspiration to other youngsters to come forward and achieve their dreams through sport.


"I have been fortunate enough to meet Jessica and her family. They are wonderful ambassadors for this city and sport. I am delighted Sheffield United and our fans can support and recognise Jessica through the re-naming of the stand," added Mr McCabe.


Jessica, who will be represented by her sister Carmel at Saturday's game, said: "Winning the gold medal at the Olympics was amazing, and to be honest still hasn't really sunk in." It is also wonderful and totally unexpected to have further recognition from within Sheffield and from the football club."


"I met Kevin McCabe at the civic reception in Barker's Pool and he mentioned that the club would like to recognise me winning the gold medal. I never expected when I started out in athletics in Sheffield all those years ago that I would have a football stand at Sheffield United named after me."


"I can't be at the match on Saturday but look forward to coming down on a match day very soon when I can see for myself how the stand looks as well as being able to meet supporters," added Jess.


Jessica become the face of the London 2012 Olympics and was subject to intense media spotlight, to achieve the dreams of Olympic glory that her home city and the entire nation sought.


Thriving under pressure, Jess took gold and a British and Commonwealth record score of 6,955 points, beating silver medallist Lilli Schwarzkopf by 306 points and bronze medalist Tatyana Chernova by a further 21 points.


She had previously overcome the heartbreak of missing the Beijing 2008 Olympics due to injury, to become the gold medallist at the World Championships in Berlin in 2009, before winning gold again at the European Championships in Barcelona the following year.


Jessica received an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield in January 2010 and is 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.


She was also awarded the University's Chancellor's Medal in 2008 in recognition of her outstanding athletic achievements.