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Denise Lewis

Biographical information

Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 1
Total 2
TypeCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameDenise•Lewis
Used nameDenise•Lewis
Born27 August 1972 in West Bromwich, West Midlands, England (GBR)
Measurements176 cm / 68 kg
AffiliationsBirchfield Harriers, Birmingham (GBR)
NOC(s) Great Britain


Although she began competing in the heptathlon in 1989, it was not until 1994 that Denise Lewis emerged onto world stage. During the course of the season she added 500 points onto her personal best and scored an upset victory over Jane Flemming at the Commonwealth Games. She placed seventh at the 1995 World Championship then emerged as a serious contender for Olympic honours by breaking the British record in May 1996. At the Atlanta Olympics she overcame a poor start and, with the help of strong performances in the javelin and 800, won the bronze medal by the tiny margin of five points. She was a regular medallist in major championships in the period between Olympics and won silver medals at both the 1997 and 1999 World Championships. Lewis also took the heptathlon title at both the European Championships and Commonwealth Games in 1998. She again raised her British record at the start of 2000 and was co-favourite for the Sydney Olympic title with Eunice Barber.

Although Lewis struggled with injury throughout the year she arrived in Sydney in better shape than Barber who did not survive the first day of the event. She took the lead after the sixth event, the javelin, and held on to become the first British female multi-event champion since Mary Peters in 1972. A continuous struggle with injury saw her career decline from this point and she would only complete two more heptathlons in the rest of the career. She returned to place fifth in the 2003 World Championships but pulled out after five of the seven events at the Athens Olympics and announced her retirement shortly afterwards. Lewis has remained a familiar face on British television as part of the BBC athletics commentary team and as a contestant on the programme Strictly Come Dancing. She has a daughter from a relationship with Belgian sprinter Patrick Stevens and two children with husband Steve Finan, a music impresario.

Personal Bests: LJ – 6.69 (2000); Hep – 6831 (2000).


Games Discipline (Sport) Event Status Team Pos Details
1996 Summer Olympics Athletics Long Jump, Women Olympic 23 r1/2 Representing Great Britain    
  Heptathlon, Women Olympic 3 Bronze
2000 Summer Olympics Athletics Heptathlon, Women Olympic 1 Gold Representing Great Britain    
2004 Summer Olympics Athletics Heptathlon, Women Olympic AC Representing Great Britain    

Special Notes