Denise Lewis, OBE, won multiple medals in a distinguished athletics career. Most famously winning the Olympic Gold medal at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 in the heptathlon. Since retiring from athletics Denise has gone on to appear regularly on television as an athletics pundit but also in various light entertainment programmes such as the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing and the One Show.
Here Dom Reilly talks to Denise about her career and travels around the world.
What was your favourite city in which to compete?
I loved competing in Amsterdam - it’s such a cool, fun city and the Dutch always look great sporting their orange colours. Next year the European Championships will be held in the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam - I’m looking forward to going back as a spectator.
What stands out most about winning your Olympic gold medal in Sydney?
Knowing just how close I came to not even being there, because of injury, made my victory all the more sweet. My team really got me over the finish line and without their tireless positivity and dedication things would have been so different.
What's your favourite holiday destination and why?
I love Jamaica! My mother was born there and I’ve always felt connected to the island. As soon as I land at Sangster Airport in Montego Bay my senses come alive. The island breeze, the smell of jerk chicken and the lush greenery are inviting... there’s always music somewhere in the distance. I inhale and relax.
Name one place you’d like to visit that you’ve not been to yet?
Brazil. The Olympics are there next year! I can’t wait.
What’s the one luxury you always travel with?
A girl always has more than one luxury item when she travels (smile). My Omega watch. I got it for the 2012 Olympics from Omega. It goes with everything. These aren’t luxury items as such but a must have when I travel. Beauty products by Caudalie Paris, an overnight Detox Oil with lavender and an overnight Recovery Oil - they are fantastic for soothing and hydrating the face after travelling.
If you could have been anything other than an athlete what would you have liked to have been?
If I had the talent, dress making would have been fun. I would have saved a small fortune over the years!
Who is your greatest influence?
My mother provided the stability and allowed me to be who I am. Watching here navigate life’s challenges has always kept me grounded for that I am grateful. It’s important that you continue to evolve and I am constantly learning from people that I respect.
It’s often said that life’s a journey – all be it a one-way ticket. If you could return as one thing or one person, what or whom would that be and why?
Ella Fitzgerald - her vocal gymnastics are sensational or Michaelangelo - his work says it all. What a legacy to leave behind.
Who is the most interesting person that you have sat next to on a plane?
I would have said my husband but he is often asleep! I sat next to a gentleman who was the spitting image of Richard Branson. He told me he is often mistaken for the Virgin Mogul. I found out that he was pretty ‘high up’ in the gaming industry, he was very friendly.
Denise Lewis travels with the Michael Johnson Performance bag and a Classic purse in pink from our Grace collection.