Denise Lewis was inspired to become an Olympian at just eight years old as she watched the Moscow Olympics in 1980 and the seeds of ambition were planted. She was so enthralled by the performances of Daley Thompson and Sebastian Coe that she vowed to make it to the Olympics one day and be the best in the world.
A superb all-round talent, Denise has progressed to the highest world-class at the heptathlon, her best accolade to date bring the Olympic gold medal she won in Sydney.
In the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, Denise Lewis took her first major International title winning the women’s heptathlon competition ahead of the Australian favourite, Jane Flemming.
Two years later, Denise won a Bronze medal in the Atlanta Olympics, the only British female to win a medal in these Games and in this same year broke the British record that had stood for ten years.
1997 saw her improve further by breaking her own British record and the Commonwealth record in her event before adding a Silver medal to her collection at the World Championships in Athens.
In 1998 Denise was runner up in BBC Sports Personality of the Year after winning both the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
Denise was awarded an MBE at the beginning of 1999 and later that year won the silver medal at the World Championships in Seville. She broke her own British record again in 2000 but the highlight of Lewis’ career came at the Olympic Games in Sydney when despite an injured Achilles tendon Denise went on to win the heptathlon making her only the 6th British woman to win an Olympic Gold medal in the history of Track and Field.
Denise came second to Sir Steven Redgrave in the Sports Personality of the Year Awards and early in 2001 she was awarded an OBE from the Queen.
In 2004 Denise took part in the BBC 1 Dancing competition ‘Strictly Come Dancing.’ Partnered alongside professional dancer Ian Waite, she got to the final and was the runner-up.
Denise is currently a judge for BA’s Great Britons Bursary Scheme, a School Sports Ambassador for the Youth Sports Trust and is also an Ambassador for International Inspiration, London 2012’s international legacy programme for children and young people.
International Inspiration uses the power of sport to transform the lives of millions of children and young people of all abilities, in schools and communities across the world, particularly in developing countries, through the power of high quality and inclusive physical education, sport and play.