Although she had dabbled in sprinting, Lee McConnell was a high jump specialist with a very respectable personal best of 1.88 m until 2001 when she was persuaded to move to 400 metre running. In her first season concentrating on the one-lap race she made the British team for the 2001 World Championship and was a finalist as part of the 4 x 400 relay team. She continued her rise in 2002 by becoming AAA Champion and winning medals at both the European Championships (bronze) and Commonwealth Games (silver), in what was for her a breakthrough season. McConnellâs career plateaued from then on and, although she was part of a bronze medal winning relay team at the 2005 World Championships, she decided to switch to the 400 intermediate hurdles. The three seasons she spent as a hurdler could be described as erratic and, whilst she did win a medal at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, she abandoned the event to return to the flat 400 permanently in 2008. Since then her best performances have been to reach the semi-finals of the 2008 Olympics and 2011 World Championships. In relay racing she won a bronze at the 2010 European Championships and a silver at the 2011 European Indoor Championships. In February 2010 the IAAF announced that American [Crystal Cox] had her results annulled, due to an admission of doping, for the period including the 2004 Olympics. Cox ran in the heats of the 4 x 400 m relay in Athens and IAAF rules state that in these circumstances Coxâs team has to be disqualified. The second anniversary of this announcement passed in early 2012 with no decision having been made as to the reallocation of medals. If the USA lose their gold medals McConnell is in line to inherit an Olympic bronze medal. But in 2013, both the IAAF and the IOC announced that the result would stand and the American squad (except Cox) would be allowed to retain their gold medals and that they now considered the case closed.
Having finished fifth with the British 4 x 400 relay team at the London 2012 Olympics, McConnell was hoping to compete in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in her home city, Glasgow. However, she took time out in 2013 to have her first baby and, although she did briefly return to the track, she abandoned those plans and announced her retirement early in 2014. She still went to the Commonwealth Games, but as a commentator for the BBC.