Maybe it is time for Ennis-Hill to quit – all good things come to an end
I would love to see heptathlete continue to London next year but, looking at her now, I see a woman who is complete
Being in the stadium and watching Jessica Ennis-Hill on her lap of honour with the rest of the heptathletes, it was hard to feel anything but great admiration for her. To win Olympic silver after all she has been through is a sublime achievement.
The decision to return to the sport was a very brave one after reaching the top of her profession and, typically, she gave it everything she possibly could over the two days here in Rio.
The 100 metres hurdles opener was good, the high jump was the best she has done in years and when she needed to dig deep and find that extra bit of energy or motivation, she was able to do it.
You could see she was disappointed with the shot put on day one, but what she does so remarkably well is she takes the disappointment on the chin. She is able to process very quickly, move on and think about what she needs to do next – and she did that throughout the competition.
She raised her game in the javelin, ran her heart out in the 800m and if you are going to get beaten after scoring 6,775 points, it is going to take something great.
Of course, she will think that she should have scored over 6,800. That is what she came here targeting and she knows she is both fit enough and good enough to achieve it. But she was smiling during that lap of honour because she knows she gave it absolutely everything.
The trouble was she came up against Nafissatou Thiam who had the competition of her entire life.
If you had told me that the girl I saw win European bronze in 2014 would go on to deliver those kind of performances at the Rio Olympics, I would never have believed you. To set five personal bests in seven events is as good as you are ever going to get; you simply cannot hope to do anything more than that.
She also managed to do it all while carrying an arm injury that she sustained at the Belgian Championships in the run-up to the Olympics. That was meant to hamper her throwing, but she still won the shot put and threw a personal best in the javelin despite only taking one attempt.
What does that say about her mental attitude? I have seen other women crumble and use that kind of thing as an excuse, but she fought through it.
Out of nowhere, she is now top of the world rankings and as we move through to the next Olympics in Tokyo, she is the one to beat. The great thing for her is that she is only going to improve physically because of her age.
You saw it with Jess when she got quicker and stronger before London 2012. That will happen with Thiam as well.
You have to wonder what Katarina Johnson-Thompson makes of the new Olympic champion. Kat had a couple of days that she will no doubt want to forget and she must be scratching her head when she looks at Thiam.
Kat is only 23 so she should continue to improve, but here is Thiam who is able to score 6,810 points aged 21. It has got to be tough to take. I am very fond of Kat, but there is no hiding from the fact that her throws are simply not good enough. It is severely limiting her potential because at the moment she is pretty much giving away the best part of 300 points in the shot put and javelin.
She will never win a global competition with those two throwing events as they are and that needs redressing. The journey has to start now, because people who have watched her for the past four years say her technical model has not changed.
The best heptathlon coaches know they cannot do everything and they need to seek help. I am not saying that her coach Mike Holmes has not done that, but whatever assistance the two of them are getting clearly is not enough. She should have been on the podium here. Her talent is too much to waste.
Now that we have a new heptathlete queen in Thiam, the person that she dethroned has a tough decision to make.
Jess suggested in her interviews afterwards that this might be the end of her career, although it is not a decision she will take lightly.
She is 30 years old now and I cannot explain how much all the injuries take their toll on your body. Having to get back up for training during those long, hard winter months is so tough.
The World Championships in London next summer may provide the carrot she needs to keep going for one more year. Being back in that Olympic Stadium would be fantastic.
But is there enough incentive to make her want to go through it all again for another 12 months? Are the sacrifices too much at this stage?
Does she need it enough to carry on to London? Is there enough to be gained?
She will not be asking those questions immediately. It will probably happen in September when her coach Toni Minichiello calls to ask what is happening.
For the event and from the British public’s perspective, she is such a joy to watch that I would love to see her continue. But she has been a double world champion, won the Olympics at her home Games, broken the British record and won a silver medal in Rio so she has an incredibly impressive career.
When I look at her I see a woman who is complete. Maybe it is time. All great things must come to an end.
‘Kat will never win a global competition with her throws as they are. Her talent is being wasted’
Mixed fortunes: Jessica Ennis-Hill (above) secured silver, but there was woe for Katarina JohnsonThompson (below)