When all the disappointment and heartache has been swept away, there may well be a silver lining for Jess Ennis.
She lost her World crown and exchanged gold for silver in Daegu. Suddenly Great Britain’s finest all-round athlete is beatable.
Doubtless Sheffield’s finest will be hard on herself, particularly reflecting on what might have been if the javelin had not proved to be so disastrous, but the end result could well work in her favour.
The problem is Jess is used to gold ... and so are the pundits, some of whom should know better.
Colin Jackson went on record shortly after London got the Olympics vote to say that she was his favourite for a gold medal in 2012. He was not alone but now it’s not quite as clear cut as Jackson and Co. would have us believe.
Certainly Jess never believed the hype and hopefully people will now get things into perspective as the London Games approach. She’s not a stone-cold certainty for gold and never has been. There are seven events in the heptathlon which, of course, means there’s a much greater margin for error ... as was the case in the javelin when she delivered three poor throws in what was her worst javelin performance in a championship since Osaka in 2007.
Had Jess delivered anywhere near her best in that discipline she could well have retained her title. As it was she can still take heart from three lifetime bests in the shot, long jump and 800 metres which helped take her final points tally to 6,751. She said: “I came here to win gold and was determined to defend my title and fell just short but I’m not going to beat myself up too much.
“I haven’t shed any tears yet but I might do later. It’s disappointing but if I was to do it any year, it was this year, the year before the Olympics.
“I can get that out of my system and make sure I improve the areas I need to and make sure it’s a gold next year.
“I don’t want to analyse the javelin too much; it’s not something I want to dwell on. It was one of those days when it didn’t come together. I felt like I was slipping on my last stride; it was all over the place really.”
There’s no denying that Tatyana Chernova, the former world youth and junior champion from Russia, is now regarded as the biggest threat to Jess’ hopes for gold in London 2012. Her winning total of 6,880 points was a huge 129 ahead of her previous best and 57 more than Jess has ever managed.
In the end, however, let’s not forget that it was more about Ennis’ mistakes than Chernova’s superiority.
Jess will take the silver - there’s certainly no disgrace in that from a major championship - knowing it could and should have been gold. That second-best feeling will stay with her right through to London and she’ll use it in a positive way.
Doubts have been raised but how many people will bet against her getting it right in 11 months time?