Jessica Taylor bought tickets to watch the heptathlon at the Commonwealth Games – but ended up winning a bronze medal.
The 26-year-old York University student emerged from nowhere to finish third at Glasgow 2014.
She had so little faith in her own ability that she thought she would have to settle for watching the action from the stands.
But when Katarina Johnson-Thompson and Morgan Lake – the two heirs to Jessica Ennis-Hill’s domination of the heptathlon – pulled out, that left Taylor as England’s best hope.
And she did not disappoint, setting personal bests in three events, including yesterday’s long jump, as well as a new lifetime’s best of 5,826 points to win bronze.
“I have no idea where that came from,” said the Londoner. “It’s been a ridiculous year.
“I’ve just finished my seven-year architecture degree, I’ve got a Commonwealth medal and I’ve put about 440 points onto my PB.
“It’s incredible. To do what I’ve just done makes it the best year of my life.
“My ambitions changed when Kat and Morgan pulled out.
“Suddenly, it turned into me being the top girl for England, and I was just desperate to do what I could for the team.
“I beat my high jump by 9cm, and that was purely because of the adrenaline from the crowd.
“I just can’t believe I’ve got a bronze medal.
“As a family, we actually bought tickets to watch the Commonwealth Games. My cousin has taken my seat, so I think it’s fair to say that none of this was on the radar at all. It’s ridiculous really.
“I haven’t really thought about the future, but now I’ve finished university, I could think about focusing on full-time training for a bit. I hadn’t made any decisions on that prior to Glasgow so I’m going to have to have a think.”
Greg Rutherford provided the ideal response to the critics who branded his Olympic gold a fluke by landing the Commonwealth long jump title in Glasgow.
The 27-year-old launched himself out to 8.20 metres to take victory and put the memories of his injury-ruined 2013 season firmly behind him. Middlesbrough’s Chris Tomlinson was fifth.
“I think a few people had written me off, thinking I was a one-hit wonder,” said Rutherford.
“But I’m here again.”