|Denise's steps to Olympic gold|
|Around the Academy:
It was so, so painful but the effort was worth it.
To become heptathlon champion at the Sydney Olympics was a dream come true.
I've always enjoyed athletics since school and my club Birchfield Harriers, as well as my Mum, has always encouraged me.
The heptathlon has seven events. I used to just do the long jump but I decided it would be more fun and challenging to do as many as I could.
I won gold at the 1994 and 1998 Commonwealth Games and was runner-up at the Athens World Championships, but the Olympic stage was where I wanted to be.
I competed against the amazing Jackie Joyner-Kersee in Atlanta in 1996 and although I got a bronze, it made me even more determined to stand at the top of that podium.
Injuries are incredibly frustrating and this really affected my Olympic preparations for Australia in 2000.
I had a calf operation and an old shoulder injury reappeared but two months before leaving, I was feeling confident after a number of personal bests at a competition in France.
Injury forced the 1996 champion Ghada Shouaa and favourite Eunice Barber to pull out during the event so that made me feel better.
On the second day my foot was hurting during the long jump and it got worse - I almost didn't do the javelin.
The 800m was the final discipline and I was ahead on points and just had to finish within 10 seconds of Russia's Yelena Prokhorova.
I ran in absolute agony but with the crowd spurring me on, I made it round. Just.
I was so emotional. Gold was mine.
But I'm not stopping there.
I want to be double Olympic champion in Athens in 2004.