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  Saturday, 30 December, 2000, 00:00 GMT
Denise awarded OBE
Denise Lewis
Denise on her way to gold in Sydney
Denise Lewis has capped off a sensational year by being awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List

Having taken Olympic heptathlon gold in the Sydney Olympics, Lewis was always odds on for a mention in dispatches - but the manner of her triumph in Sydney made it a certainty.

Lewis battled against injury and exhaustion to take the title Down Under, making a huge impact on sports fans in the process.

Having been competing at the top level for eight years, she's now won Olympic, European and Commonwealth gold, two World Championship silvers and an Olympic bronze.

It's a haul unmatched by any other female British athlete, and one garnered against a background of constant injury.

Denise Lewis
Denise takes second at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year
In the last year alone, Lewis has had problems with her right calf, shoulder, foot and Achilles tendon. The last of these nearly cost her place atop the Olympic podium.

But she has been overwhelmed by the response since she returned from the Olympics.

The awards have been piling up - Sunday Times Sportswoman of the Year, British Athletics' Writers athlete of the year, voted athlete of the year by her fellow British competitors and second in the BBC Sports Personality Awards.

Born in West Bromwich 28 years ago, Denise's great breakthrough came in 1994 when she improved her pre-season best of 5812 points to 5937 and 6069 before a superb 6325 at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada.

There a 5.1m improvement to her javelin personal best was followed by two seconds off her best for 800m and gave her a narrow heptathlon victory over Jane Flemming.

Denise Lewis
Denise in the Olympic heptathlon 800m
She was Britain's woman athlete of the year in 1996, when she was the country's only female Olympic athletics medallist, again in 1997 when she took the World silver medal, and once more in 1998, when, despite missing crucial weeks through injury, she won double gold at European and Commonwealth Games.

In 1999 she had to pull out of planned heptathlon competitions in Götzis and at the European Cup, but somehow pulled things together in Seville to win a World silver medal.

She was awarded the MBE in the 1999 New Year Honours.

New Year Honours

Sporting knights

Olympic honours

Football honoured

'Services to sport'

Around the UK
See also:

28 Nov 00 | Athletics
18 Dec 00 | Athletics
25 Nov 00 | Sport Front Page
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