Sheffield’s golden girl Jessica Ennis-Hill has spoken of her ‘shock’ at Twitter abuse received when she spoke out against convicted rapist Ched Evans.
The Olympic heptathlon champion received threatening messages last month after saying she would want her name removed from a stand at Bramall Lane if the former Sheffield United striker returned to the club following his release from prison.
Evans was jailed for five years in 2012 for raping a woman in a hotel bedroom the year before.
He was freed mid-way through his sentence in October and began using United’s training facilities until patrons stood down and the club faced a backlash.
“It was definitely a shock. It was not very nice to read them but unfortunately that’s the world we live in,” she said.
“You kind of have to keep focused on who you are and what you believe in, and try not to read too much into it.
“You can’t spend hours going through your Twitter feed and reading everything every single person says to you. You need to get on with your life.
“I knew I was in a position where I was going to upset someone whether I said something or didn’t. With my stand at Sheffield United and the association I have with the club, I really just wanted to voice my opinion.
“It wasn’t about putting pressure on the club or anything like that - it was just simply about how I felt. I think people can be rehabilitated and if they have served time in jail can go back into society, but I just feel that when you are in a really privileged position it’s quite different.”
Jess, 28, who gave birth in July, she is hoping to defend her Olympic title in Rio in 2016.
“It’s hard getting up when you have not had much sleep but I really want to have this last push in my career,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to the Olympics, I really want to be there and want to be a contender and that’s what keeps me motivated.
“I have two years to get the work done and get where I was, I’m still the competitive person I was and I really hope I can contend for a gold medal.
“London 2012 was fantastic and it will be very hard to top, but if I am able to get work done and get to Rio and win a gold medal having had a child, that would be unbelievable.”