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Denise Lewis
"I've done it - I'm in the history books"
 real 14k

Denise Lewis
talks to BBC Sport about her Olympic win
 real 56k

Sunday, 24 September, 2000, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Brave Lewis hangs on for gold
Denise Lewis
Lewis: "I nearly didn't make it. But here I am"
Britain's Denise Lewis defied injury to take the gold medal in the heptathlon after a brave run in the 800m.

Lewis led going into the final discipline, knowing that she needed to finish in the region of under 10 seconds behind Russia's Yelena Prokhorova.

But there were some worrying moments as Prokhorova stormed into the lead and held a healthy advantage in the final straight.

But Lewis dug deep and despite an Achilles injury that had threatened her participation in the 800m she kept the gap to around six seconds to land gold.

"It's been a battlefield for me out there. Every event has been uphill for me, so I'm really thankful and honoured that I made it through as Champion," she said.


During the last round of the long jump I hurt my foot and wasn't sure whether or not it was going to be a passing thing. But it got progressively worse and I nearly didn't make it to the javelin.
  Denise Lewis

"It's been the most peculiar two days. In one event we've seen the Olympic champion from 1996 pull out at the first hurdle and also Eunice Barber who was probably favourite to win this, pulled out after five events.

And she admitted that she was very close to following them out of the competition.

"I said at the beginning it would be about who could survive, and that the fittest would survive, but I have to say I nearly didn't make it. But here I am.

"To be honest I had big problems. During the last round of the long jump I hurt my foot and I wasn't sure whether or not it was going to be a passing thing. But it got progressively worse and worse and I nearly didn't make it to the javelin.

Injection

Denise Lewis
Lewis: Ecstatic
"But I've got a great team behind me as always. The doctors and physios were trying to come up with ways of taping up my foot, we even talked about an injection at one stage to deaden the pain that I was suffering.

"But it must have been mercy on my side and the fantastic crowd support that spurred me on and I made it through those two laps of the 800m which wasn't easy.

"It was my worst 800m this year and it hurt.

The Birchfield Harrier finished just 53 points ahead of Prokhorova with Natalya Sazanovich from Belarus just four points further back in the bronze medal position.

Her Olympic winning total of 6584 was well down on her own record, but that will have been of little importance to her.

Lewis, in third place after the first day of competition, had earlier jumped 6.48m to move up to second place after the long jump and then took over the lead after throwing 50.19m with her final throw in the javelin.

Her closest rivals Sazanovich, the overnight leader, threw 43.97 while Prokhorova recorded a personal best of 45.05m.

Lewis's hopes had been boosted earlier when France's Eunice Barber ended her bid after making only one attempt in the long jump.

France's heptathlon world champion has been troubled by injury throughout the season and took the decision to quit in Sydney after consultation with the team physiotherapist on her niggling thigh problem.

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See also:

24 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Field
Britain's Golden girl
24 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Field
Lewis the toast of British stars
24 Sep 00 |  Team GB
Lewis makes it six for Brits
24 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Gunnell ecstatic after Lewis gold
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