You are going to read a newspaper article about an Olympic athlete. For questions 1-10, choose from the paragraphs (A-D). The paragraphs may be chosen more than once.

Which paragraph

1   gives an example of Jessica having good luck?

2   refers to the role of Jessica’s family in helping her achieve success?

3   suggests it is surprising that Jessica does not understand herself better?

4   mentions a previous sporting disappointment that Jessica had?

5   explains why Jessica is so popular with the local public?

6   explains why another athlete was surprised at Jessica’s performance?

7   mentions a painful childhood memory?

8   suggests that Jessica’s appearance can give a misleading impression?

9   says that Jessica’s relationship with someone can sometimes be difficult?

10   contrasts Jessica’s personality on and off the track?

Jessica Ennis: heptathlon Olympic champion

A   There have been many great Olympic athletes in recent years, but few have been taken to their country’s heart quite as warmly as gold medal winner Jessica Ennis. Her quiet determination to succeed, her good humour when faced by setbacks and the absolute joy she showed when finally becoming Olympic champion have all contributed to this, as has the difficulty of the sport she has chosen to compete in: the heptathlon. This involves turning in world-class performances in seven track and field events over two days. At first sight, Jessica – at just 1.65 metres and 57 kilos – may seem an unlikely winner of such a physically demanding sport, but once the action begins it soon becomes clear she has the speed, strength and endurance to beat anyone.

B   Jessica recognises that her normally easygoing nature is transformed into something much fiercer when she has to compete. She knows that success only comes from being highly motivated and totally focused on each event. In her autobiography Unbelievable, she talks of the way she was picked on at school by bigger girls because of her background and lack of size, and how that has made her determined to succeed, particularly against taller and stronger athletes. She also points out that she is not from a particularly sporting family and that her sister ‘absolutely hates sport’, but says she was introduced to athletics by her parents, who have continued to give her encouragement and support throughout her career as an athlete. Her mother was born in the UK and her father in Jamaica.

C   She gets on well with her family, as she does with her husband Andy, saying she dislikes conflict and wherever possible avoids arguments with people. The only exception is her trainer Chell, with whom she has a row ‘every day’. And although Jessica is a psychology graduate, she is unable to explain how she acquired the tremendous self-discipline that has enabled her to keep training to Olympic gold medal standard while so many others have given up along the way. Of course, at that level nothing can be taken for granted, as she discovered when a sudden injury put her out of the Beijing Games. She describes that as the lowest point in her career. Typically, though, Jessica bounced back, and once ft again began training just as hard as ever.

D   By the time of the London Games in 2012 she was in the best shape of her life, and on this occasion she was fortunate enough to remain free of injury. Some of the times she recorded in the heptathlon were so fast that she would have achieved good positions in the finals of track events such as the 200 metres. That brought to mind a race won two years earlier against the world champion, who couldn’t believe she had lost to someone who trained for seven different events. Since the London Olympics, Jessica has continued to take part in competitions, receiving numerous awards including World Sportswoman of the Year. She has also featured on a special postage stamp and has had a post box in her home city of Sheffield painted gold in her honour.


1 D   2 B   3 C   4 C   5 A   6 D   7 B   8 A   9 C   10 B

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