Laviai Nielsen ‘inspired’ by Jessica Ennis-Hill

London 2012 was a pivotal moment for GB heptathlete, Jessica Ennis-Hill. The poster girl for the games had a chance to win Gold in front of a home crowd.

It was a chance that she seized and the rest, as they say, is history.

But Jess’ victory had a profound and lasting effect.

Standing behind her on the track, was a young Laviai Nielsen – a kit carrier volunteer.

Nielsen, 20, is now the European Junior 400m champion and BUCS 200m champion.

My inspiration always ❤️ #JessicaEnnisgoodnight 😢

A photo posted by Laviai Nielsen (@laviai) on


Ever since I stood behind her as a volunteer and watched her prepare for one of the biggest races of her life, I have been in awe of her focus, determination and drive.” said Nielsen, reflecting on Jess’ retirement.

Watching Jess at the games had a profound impact on Nielsen, who is currently taking a break from her studies at King’s College London to focus on London 2017.

She has inspired me to be the best athlete I can be, and now that she has announced her retirement, she has reminded me that I should always make the most out of every opportunity“, said Nielsen.

I wouldn’t be the athlete I am today without her as my idol.”


Nielsen is now encouraging people to become a volunteer at British Athletics major events.

Speaking to the BBC, Neilsen said, “volunteering can be amazingly rewarding and to be at the forefront of a global event in the UK will just be awesome…If I wasn’t hoping to be competing, I would do it again.

Unfortunately, volunteer applications for London 2017 are now closed. But applications are still open for the indoor events, Anniversary games and British Trials.



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James is the founder of LUCA.