Denise Lewis is a Black British Athlete, a superb all-round talent. Denise progressed to the highest world-class at the heptathlon, her highest accolade was the Olympic gold medal she won in Sydney.
She achieved a best of 5277 points in her first year at the event in 1989. She was Britain’s woman athlete of the year in 1996, when she was Britain’s only female Olympic athletics medallist, 1997, when she took the World silver medal, and in 1998, she won gold at both the European and Commonwealth Games.
In 1999 she won the World silver medal with 6724 points, just 12 points short of her Commonwealth record. In Sydney, the recurrence of an Achilles tendon meant that her completing her event was doubtful, but she showed great courage and earned her hugely deserved gold medal. She was awarded the MBE in the 1999 New Year Honours.
After Athletics, Denise had three children with her husband Steve Finnan who was the manager of Pop Group All saints and son of the Liverpudlian comedian Tom O’Connor.
In 2004, Denise took part in the BBC dancing competition, Strictly Come Dancing. She was partnered alongside professional dancer, Ian Waite and in the first few weeks scored the highest number of points with the judges. After reaching the final she finished runner-up to actress Jill Halfpenny. Later dancing at the Royal Variety Performance.
About 10 days after competing in the final of Strictly Come Dancing, Denise and Ian competed again in the Strictly Come Dancing Champion of Champions Special, where the finalists from both series of the contest, competed against each other. Denise received the most points from the judges, however she once again became the runner up of the contest, as Jill Halfpenny won overall.
She again revisited the role for the BBC’s charitable fund-raiser Let’s Dance for Comic Relief in 2009, reaching the final of the competition.
Denise was a pundit for BBC Sport’s coverage of the �World Athletics Championships from Berlin and Barcelona alongside fellow Athletes Michael Johnson and Colin Jackson