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Denise Lewis OBE talks Arsenal, football, and scrambled eggs

Chris Roper, Arsenal

30th March 2017

Denise Lewis OBE, Olympic gold medal-winner and athlete, joined Arsenal footballers Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin, and Danny Welbeck in our 31 second challenges. 

Denise spoke to us about Arsenal and her fondest memories of the game...

How long have you been an Arsenal fan?

I’ve been an Arsenal fan for about 20 years, but I’m from the Midlands, so it was under wraps – I had to keep it quiet!

How did Arsenal end up being your team?

During the late ‘90s I was training in Holland, and Dennis Bergkamp was the big hero there. Plus my North London friends were Arsenal fans, so the recipe was made.

How often did you make it down to the stadium?

I don’t make it to the games a lot. You know, it’s a beautiful stadium and I’ve been a few times but just not enough.

What’s your favourite Arsenal moment?

There are so many, but I think the one that stands out for me is the one against spurs. That was in 2002 when Thierry Henry literally took the ball from Arsenal’s defence right up the pitch in a solo effort. He went around a couple of defenders and they expected him to pass to Dennis Bergkamp, but he decided to go at it alone. Bosh! Straight in the net.

What about your favourite players, both current and legend, and why?

My favourite players? That’s not easy. Because I’m a bit old school I like the guys from yesteryear. Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams. I mean the list goes on. And why? They just played with so much heart. They were a real team: strong unit, great leadership – super!

What parallels do you see between football and athletics?

I’m not sure there are too many parallels between athletics and football, but I definitely see some resemblance, especially when it comes to penalty shootouts. You know, all eyes are on you, the pressure is mounting, and you’ve got to stay focussed and deliver that shot. It’s that one moment when it’s all on you.

Do you ever play football?

My football skills are non-existent. Armchair supporter. Terrible.

What about your family? Do your children play football? Are you a touchline mum yelling instructions from the sidelines?

My boys play football. I am competitive and I want their team to do well. But I know it’s important, especially at the games, that you keep it in check. Nothing worse than an overzealous mum at the sidelines. 

We saw you do the keepy-uppy challenge, any tips for anyone taking it on?

My keepy-uppy skills are just rubbish. Erm... a simple technique is don’t drop the ball.

What’s the best thing you’ve ever done in 31 seconds?

The best thing I’ve done in 31 seconds is make a fantastic scrambled egg. Boom.

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