April 1970, (Pembury, Kent)
Southall and Middlesex AC (formally
Camp With Kelly
English Schools’ 1500m titles at junior and senior level, Holmes disappeared
from athletics to pursue a career in the army, joining up at the age of 18.
As a former
army physical trainer Kelly has always been well suited to putting plenty back
into the sport and injuries have allowed her plenty of time to do so.
inspired to return after watching athletes she had competed against in her
schooldays competing at a high level in televised races, and when she returned
in 1992 she wasted little time in making an impression.
||2nd September 2003
this stage in my career there is nothing I can change technically but I know I
can give myself an advantage if I can remain strong and competitive."
Kelly (right) as a Junior at
Tonbridge AC - She still holds the
club records for 800m & 1500m set in 1987 & 2000m set in 1985.
As an U17 she ran 6:40 for 2000m, and as an U20 she ran 2:09.0 for 800m and 4:26.1 for 1500m.
Despite a bright start - she
won the English Schools 1500m crown in just her second season in 1987 - her athletics
career was almost prematurely snuffed out. Holmes turned her back on athletics
at the age of 18, preferring to focus her physical aptitude on building a career
in the army.
First she operated
heavy-duty trucks before re-training as a physical training instructor. Holmes'
athletics aspirations were all but buried until an army coach suggested she
return to the sport. "I wasn't sure,"
she admitted. "I was
enjoying life being completely army barmy and didn't want to start training
1993 - 1994
Army life as a PT instructor
had kept her fit and in her first year back she was competing internationally at
under-23 level and a year later took both AAA and UK titles over 800m.
sub-two minute victory also came in 1993, when second in the Bislett Games in
Oslo and a first major title came in the 1500m at the 1994 Commonwealth Games
having earlier taken silver in the Europeans.
1994 Commonwealth gold
In 1995 she set British
records at 800m and 1000m as well as adding to her medal collection with bronze
in the Worlds in Gothenburg, Sweden – the country that had witnessed her first
grand prix victory two years earlier in Stockholm.
Hopes of completing the set
of medals from all four majors were delayed in 1996 as she was unable to build
on British record-breaking performances over 1000m and 1500m.
After finishing fourth at
the Atlanta Olympics it was revealed she has running with a stress fracture and
then spent seven weeks in plaster.
The first day of the 1997
World Championships was barely minutes old when Holmes limped off the track
during the 800m heats due to an Achilles injury which kept her sidelined for a
lengthy period and it was therefore an achievement to take silver at the 1998
Landing in Sydney
Holmes finally added an
Olympic medal in 2000 when, despite a lack of training, Kelly took on the
field in the 800m and took bronze in the 800m.
Kelly's bronze glory
IT was billed as the
greatest single day of athletics in the history of the Olympic Games:
Monday September 25, 2000. In Sydney, the programme provided such
anticipation that one million people attempted to buy tickets for a
stadium that held 115,000.
The reason was Cathy
Freeman, the heroine of Australia, who was running in the 400m final.
Those lucky enough to have a seat in the arena saw her amazing triumph
along with Haile Gebrselassie winning the 10,000m and Michael Johnson
retaining his 400m title.
It was some evening for
Britain, too. Jonathan Edwards won gold in the triple jump and in the
middle of all the drama, came one of the best races of the whole Games
and, along with it, one of the quotes of the year: "I can't believe
It is a saying that is
often heard from an Olympian who achieves their dreams, or something
beyond their wildest expectations. But this time it was extra special
because Britain's Kelly Holmes said it 22 times in four minutes.
She was in the bowels of
Stadium Australia, still getting her breath back, after finishing third in
the final of the 800m. The smile was beaming from her face because in a
year where she had suffered injury turmoil again, she had made it to the
Games and won a bronze medal.
Illness in 2001 meant she
was not in peak shape when the World Championships came around.
After returning to form in
2002, including a 10th AAA title (indoors and out), she regained the
Commonwealth 1500 title in Manchester and added a European 800 bronze before
deciding not to run the 1500m.
A good winter spent in South
Africa training with close friend and world No.1 Maria Mutola saw Holmes in good
form as she entered 2003 and she smashed the 15-year-old British indoor 800m
record with 1:59.21 in Belgium and then added the 1500m mark as she took silver
at the World Indoors with 4:02.66.
World Championships: 1.
Great Britain's Kelly Holmes waits until the last 50m before surging to the line
to finish second in her heat in the 800m, 2. & 3. - 800m FINAL
|A calf injury during the
summer meant she went into the World Championships in Paris uncertain of which
event to tackle, if she would be fit enough to compete at all, so her silver in
the 800m behind Mutola was one of the best performances of the
championships by a British athlete. She choose, however, not to contest the
Within days she was back on
the track, setting a British 600m record of 85.41 in Liege.
Holmes with Record Bonus
Kelly set a championship best
performance of 2:01.40 when winning the AAA Indoor 800m title by five seconds in
2004 and set a European indoor record of 2:32.96 for 1000m at the Norwich Union
Grand Prix, as Mozambique's Maria Mutola went crashing to the track, leaving
Kelly to take gold.
Norwich Union world trials,
|Kelly Holmes sharpened up
for next month's World Indoor Championships in Budapest with a blistering
victory in Sheffield.
The 33-year-old turned the 800 metres at the Norwich Union
World Trials into a solo display as she clocked a championship record two
minutes 1.40 seconds. Holmes
streaked clear from the start to win by over five seconds from Becky Lyne at the
English Institute of Sport.
"That was a good
run-out, a little speed work,"
“I am very pleased with
the run, it is such a shame Maria fell over because it could have made an even
better race and finish. I think it is the first time I have been in front
of her in a race, it is a shame, but I am very pleased with my performance.
I have had some problems with my chest leading up to this, so I wasn’t sure
how I was going to go, but I felt really strong and very positive. The
crowd were excellent and really helped. It’s great running here.
“I am going back to
Valencia to train and concentrate on running the 1500m in the World Indoor
Kelly's hopes of a medal at the
World Indoor Championships literally went crashing when she fell in the 1500m final,
picking herself up to finish ninth.
Holmes rejoined the field
after hitting the ground after 600m.
But the gutsy former army
sergeant was unable to make up the 20m gap and crossed the line last in four
minutes 12.30 seconds.
Holmes had picked out
Ethiopia's Kutre Dulecha, the eventual winner, as her main threat before the
race and said: "I knew I could have won it. My plan was to move onto her
shoulder with 400m left.
"That's why I started
to move through to the front. I wanted to be with her.
"Then I just went down.
At the end of the day, I don't know what happened and can't remember what was
going through my mind.
"When something like
that occurs, I suppose you just react instinctively. I jumped up and got back to
them, but then my adrenaline quickly ran out."
Delecha blitzed the last
300m to cruise to gold in four minutes 06.40 seconds.
Holmes was lost for words
after the stumble which prevented her turning last year's world silver medal
"I fell, I tried and I
didn't get a medal," said
the 33-year-old. "I'm
gutted and there's really nothing to say. I honestly believed I could have won
Holmes said she did not
think about pulling out of the race after her tumble. "I
didn't want to give up, I got up and kept running,"
she told BBC Radio Five Sports Extra.
"I felt so gutted.
Everything was going perfectly. It was something I wanted to win more than
"There is the
possibility of falling but I never thought it would happen in a final. Now I've
just got to get myself ready for the summer."
Holmes' American coach Margo
Jennings, who encouraged the athlete to take up indoor running last season, was
determined to remain positive. "Kelly's
chance will come again,"
said Jennings. "She
wanted this opportunity to be the one which would win her gold."
"She's put a lot of
effort into this year. She always does. But this was to be something
for Gold: Kelly Holmes
Olympic Trials, Manchester
Kelly gets Olympic 800m
insists she will use the 800 metres as a "back-up" event at the
Olympics, despite her impressive win in Spain on Saturday.
The 34-year-old is
convinced she can make a stronger challenge for the 1500m gold medal in
remains my top priority," said
Holmes, who is currently fourth in this year's world rankings.
"The 800m is
purely a back-up in case anything goes really wrong - and as you know,
these things do happen."
afterwards that she was pleased to have become the only British woman to
better the Olympic qualifying standard of two minutes this summer as
she beat Morocco's Hasna Benhassi.
"It was a
definite bonus. I felt good and I was really comfortable racing against
some very experienced 800m women.
think I could have run faster but I stayed in the second and third lanes
to keep myself out of trouble. I lost a lot of ground by doing that,"
London Grand Prix, Crystal
Kelly Holmes thrilled
the packed crowd at the Norwich Union London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace on
Friday night 30 July as some of the world’s greatest athletes honed their
skills ahead of the Olympic Games in Athens.
Holmes (Ealing, Southall and Middlesex AC) raised the roof of the renovated
Palace a little further by storming home 10m clear in the 1500m only five days
after her equally emphatic 800m victory at the Norwich Union International in
Birmingham. After remaining content to sit in the pack until the bell (3:03),
she burst past long-time leader Jennifer Toomey (USA) and strode away powerfully
to win in 4:04.07.
really needed that race. I've been very indecisive lately and I needed to run
over 1500 metres again. This has given me a lot of confidence. My coach has
flown over from America today and I think I need to sit down with her over the
next couple of days to decide whether to double up or not. The crowd here today
was fantastic as usual. They always give me a lift. You always try to raise your
game for your home crowd.
is telling me that I should double up because I've been running so well lately,
but both my last two races have been in the UK and you always raise your game in
your own country. To double up, you have to feel right inside and I still
haven't quite got that feeling yet. I will weigh up what's best for me and make
a decision in the next couple of days. I have to get it right as this is my last
Holmes (Ealing, Southall and Middlesex AC) finished second in the Women’s
1500m in 4:03.48, 0.41sec behind Wioletta Janowska (Poland) Games at the
Weltklasse IAAF Golden League meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, on Friday night, 6
entered for both the 800m and 1500m in Athens, was always to the fore after her
impressive victories at the Norwich Union International at Birmingham and the
Norwich Union London Grand Prix at Crystal Palace.
was in the lead at the bell, and her and Janowska pulled away on the last lap.
who was passed by Janowska in the last 30m, said afterwards: “I
was in the lead for quite a way; I needed to be more positive and that’s what
I did but the result’s the result.”
aware of the global interest in whether she will double-up or concentrate on
either the 800m or 1500m at the Games, she added: “I
don’t have to decide yet. I have got two weeks’ hard training to fit in and
I want to make the right choice.”
Athens Olympics 2004
Kelly Holmes has confirmed she will run the 1500m at the Olympic Games, although
she remains undecided whether to compete in the 800m as well.
Holmes, who won bronze in
the 800m at Sydney 2000, said at the start of the season that the 1500m was her
"What to do at the
Olympics? The 1500m or the double," she
told the Evening Standard newspaper.
"I don't have to say
whether or not I'll do the 800m until a day before the heats, which begin a week
"I'm now in the
positive frame of mind that tells me that if I carry on training the way I have
been, the decision will take care of itself," added
"I feel I am running
well enough to reach the final in both events so if it is a dilemma, it is a
"The quandary boils
down to this. I could hope to win a medal in the 800m, but won't know how much
it will take out of me.
"Could it ruin my
chances in the 1500m? Or I could just go for the 1500m and then regret
afterwards that I didn't go in for the 800m? You don't want to live with
Athens 2004: 800m
Holmes lived her dream last night by winning the Olympic Games 800m
Hanging off the
fast early pace the 34-year-old carved her way through the field to
deliver Britain’s first woman’s track gold since Sally Gunnell
won the 400m hurdles in 1992 and the first 800m victory for a woman
since Ann Packer in 1964.
“This is my
dream come true, one that I’ve been working towards for all my
just can’t believe it, I have been waiting for this all my
In a desperate
finish down the home straight Holmes was locked in battle with Maria
Mutola, the defending champion from Sydney.
With the line
approaching Holmes seemed to edge ahead but then on the outside
Moroccan Hasna Benhassi, Russian Tatyana Andrianova and Jolanda
Ceplak mounted a furious last-ditch finish so that all four almost
crossed the line together.
Holmes got the
verdict in 1mins 56.38secs with Benhassi five hundredths of a second
behind for second place and Ceplak third in the same time of
crossed the line I thought I had won but I was not sure and thought,
well maybe I haven’t,” added
was there looking at the screen and then someone shouted from the
sidelines that I had won and I couldn’t believe it. It
is a dream come true.”
to checking the replay twice to make sure she had won, before
savouring her moment on the podium
Holmes revealed that it was a very tough decision whether to run the
made my mind up the night before the heats of the 800m so it was a
pretty late decision!”
said Holmes. “I
decided to give it a go because my training had been going so well.
I knew it was going to be a risk whatever I decided to do.”
It was not the
only decision she got right. Holmes hung off the fast early pace set
by American Jearl Clark Miles and at the bell, reached in 56.37secs,
was in last place and 20 metres behind the leader.
race plan was to hold back and then give it everything in the last
knew it would be fast but I have more strength than speed so I had
to take the risk and hang back. When I decided to go with 150m
remaining I just had to go.
the last 150 would be flat out and when I decided to give it my shot
I had to go regardless of what happened and then hold on for dear
life. That line was
coming and coming and my legs were starting to go. I was holding on
for dear life.”
Holmes also paid tribute to her UK Athletics physio Alison Rose.
“This is the
first year I have not been injured,” she
have never been able to maximize my potential before and that has
made a huge difference.”
added “I was
thrilled to see Kelly win as she is a very good friend of mine. It
gave me a real boost before the 5000m.”
Kelly Holmes has won her second gold medal at the Olympics, this
time storming to victory in the 1500m.
Running with supreme confidence, she again stormed through the pack
to claim gold after lying eighth out of 12 at the bell.
champion, who took 800m gold on Monday, finished three metres clear
of Russia's Tatyana Tomashova.
Holmes ran a brilliant tactical race, hanging to back for the first
few laps then sprinting the final straight with style.
She's the first
British athlete for 84 years to achieve the Olympic middle-distance
double. The only other Briton to manage the feat was Albert Hill in
Antwerp in 1920. The only other women to do it were in 1976 and
1996, but from Russia.
believe it - I'm gobsmacked,"
said Holmes, who broke her own 7-year-old British record with 3
minutes 57.90 seconds in the race.
mother, Pam Thomson watched her daughter take gold in the
women's 1500m final to make Olympic history in the Athens
watching her daughter's triumph Ms Thomson said her daughter's
simply are not enough at a time like this,"
had a lot of downs in her career and has always thought that
something will go wrong when she's at the top. But tonight was her
night and she was just amazing."
She said her
daughter had "never
of gaining a second gold medal.
couldn't believe my eyes as she started to move up in the field and
then to finish in the way she did was just breathtaking," she
"She's going to have
to go through a lot of attention and publicity so we will see how
she settles down but for now everyone is just so pleased for
Ms Thomson could
not travel to watch her daughter in Athens because she has not got a
'stunned' by success
Holmes has admitted the pressure of going for a golden double was
almost unbearable, after accomplishing an Olympic feat which, just a
week ago, was beyond her wildest dreams.
was so exhausted from the effort of adding the 1500m crown to her
800m title that she had to have treatment from a doctor before she
could do any post-race interviews.
last and only time a Briton achieved the middle-distance double was
when Albert Hill triumphed in Antwerp 84 years ago.
revealed that the shock of winning a surprise first gold medal on
Monday had made it almost impossible to summon up the will to
complete the second stage of her mission.
feels like I'm going to wake up in the morning and have to do it all
over again," said
hardest thing was focusing on the race and pretending that I hadn't
already won one.
been looking at the gold medal every day and tears have been filling
my eyes. I was thinking 'oh my god, I've already got one gold medal
and I just want this over and done with. I just wanted to celebrate
but I'd focused so much on getting another one."
brought the crowd in the Olympic stadium to its feet with a superb
late surge to take gold in a new British record time of three
minutes 57.9 seconds.
choked back the tears as she stood on the top of the podium for the
second time in six days, one Union Jack wrapped around her shoulders
and another wrapped round her waist.
the space of a week, she had gone from talented but injury-jinxed
middle distance runner to track legend.
"If you had
told me I had to run that time to win a medal I wouldn't have turned
has been a psychological barrier for me. I knew I was stronger than
I've ever been, but it's what goes on in your head that counts.
when I won the 800m that I had to be as confident as possible and
that this would be my only chance to do what I have done."
she was stunned that her name would now go down alongside other
British greats like Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram.
"Sebastian Coe was my idol for years," said
Holmes, who received her 800m gold from Lord Coe on Monday. "I
always remember seeing him win Olympic silver in the 800m and then
coming back to win the 1500m. He was an inspiration when I was
younger and to be mentioned in the same breath as him is
unbelievable. I don't think I'm coming to terms with it at the
struggled to take it all in, her night got even better. Glancing
over at the television in the press conference room, she saw that
Britain's sprinters had won a shock gold in the 4x100m relay. A huge
smile broke out across her face. After so many years of hurt, things
have finally come good for Kelly Holmes.
carried the Great Britain Flag in the Closing ceremony.
keeps on running
Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes has no plans to retire
following her memorable exploits in Athens.
34-year-old, who added 1500m gold to her 800m triumph on
Saturday, hopes to continue her winning form. "I
don't plan to retire,"
she said. "I'm
in the best shape of my life. I would still like an indoors
title but I have got my dream twice over.
most important thing now is to enjoy my sport and appreciate
all the things it gives me."
given the honour of carrying the flag for Great Britain at
Sunday's closing ceremony.
Olympic chief Simon Clegg paid tribute to her achievement. "It
he said. "I
think she has run two perfect races and that is why I asked
her to carry the flag at the closing ceremony."
34, has admitted the dream of future Olympic glory stopped her
quitting the sport two years ago. "I
could have given up. I had depression, everything. But I felt
in my heart one day it might happen,"
Holmes said. "This
is my life, what I've dreamt of forever. No one can ever take
it away. I will always be Olympic champion."
who became only the seventh British athlete to win two golds
at one Olympic Games by adding the 1500m crown to her 800m
triumph, admitted her career had now peaked.
still have a few races to do this season, which is going to be
main thing is that I think I can enjoy the rest of my career.
Now I've got more than my dream come true. Whatever happens
now, I don't really care. Nothing
I do in my life will make me as happy as I am now."
she extends her career into next season, Holmes could go for more
gold at the World Championships in Helsinki.
34-year-old has suffered an agonising series of near misses in
her career, with bad luck and injury blighting her progress.
Holmes was pipped to gold in the 1500m at the 1995 World
Championship, and squeezed out of the medals with fourth in
the 800m at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Injury ruined her bid
for the 1997 World Championship 1500m, and many wondered if
her best chance of a global title had gone as bronze in the
800m in the Sydney Olympics was followed by silver in the same
event in the 2003 Worlds.
the ups and downs I've had, I think they've made me the
athlete I am,"
Holmes said. "It
made me stronger. I've had every single emotion an athlete can
I've ever dreamed of has come true."
said good preparation for Athens in the pre-Games training
camp in Cyprus had given her the confidence to go for the
1500m and 800m double.
thought I've got to give it a go, because I don't want to live
with regrets," she
"If I'd done the 1500m and something went wrong and I
didn't do the 800m I'd be gutted. I figured it was a bigger
place in history
Holmes' double gold in the 800m and 1500m has been hailed as
one of the greatest achievements in Olympic history.
set a new British record and ended up as the only Team GB
athlete to claim individual track and field gold.
did more than merely save her under-performing team-mates'
blushes and more than simply fulfil a personal Olympic dream.
doing the 800m-1500m double, the 34-year-old from Tonbridge
achieved a rare Olympic feat.
middle-distance great Sebastian Coe, who was Holmes' idol
growing up, described her achievement as "phenomenal".
Coe, who himself won 1500m Olympic gold but was unable to
clinch the double, said: "A
lot of people have tried it, few people have done it. In
historic terms and athletic terms, what Kelly did was
former British runner convinced of the magnitude of Holmes'
accomplishment is former Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist
Brendan Foster. The BBC pundit's emotional commentary as
Holmes sank to her knees after clinching victory in the 1500m
left viewers in no doubt as to how high he ranked her
first ever gold medal in the Olympic Games was in the 1500m
and now (this is) our most glorious moment in athletics
history as far as I can see," he
is the double Olympic champion - we've never had one like you
before. The last British athlete that came close to it was
Sebastian Coe and he ended up as Lord Coe. Surely we going to
call her Dame Kelly Holmes after that performance."
statistics show the enormity of Holmes' achievement:
two other women have achieved the 800m-1500m double in the
history of the Olympic Games.
Just two other athletes of any nationality have done
the 800m-1500m double in modern times - New Zealand's Peter
Snell in 1964 and Svetlana Masterkova of Russia in 1996.
A mere six other British female track and field
athletes have won Olympic gold - none had won more than one.
Only six other British competitors have won two or more
golds at the same Olympics - and only one since 1920.
Holmes is the first Briton to win both Olympic middle
distance events for 84 years, when Albert Hill won both in
Antwerp in 1920.
victory in the 800m, an open-top bus parade around her home
town of Tonbridge was planned - now that looks likely to be
scaled up into a national party.
did Holmes make a mockery of the odds, she now finds herself
odds-on for a host of other things - from winning the BBC
Sports Personality of the Year to getting a gong in the New
Year's Honours list.
will be changed with monumental fame and lucrative financial
opportunities there for the grasping. But
what will surely be most precious to her is the place that her
Athens performances have earned her in the pantheon of Olympic
parties for homecoming queen: Holmes given hero's welcome
heroine Kelly Holmes was welcomed back to her home town with a
surprise party at her local pub.
landing at Gatwick with the rest of Great Britain's Olympic
stars, she was whisked off to the Hilden Manor pub, in the
Kent town of Hildenborough.
the 800m and 1500m in Athens, becoming one of the stars of the
games, which closed on Sunday.
it was nice to be with people she had known for years and who
had been through ups and downs with her.
second triumph on Saturday she admitted she was struggling to
come to terms with the enormity of what she had achieved.
probably had more idea after she was asked to carry the
British flag at the closing ceremony and when thousands of
fans were at Gatwick to welcome Holmes and her fellow stars
back from Athens on Monday.
friends and family crammed into the Hilden Manor to
congratulate her at Monday night's private party.
the BBC: "This
is really nice because it's all my close family and friends
and people I've known for absolutely years.
it's really important for me because these are the people it
all started off with and who have followed me through the ups
and downs of being Kelly Holmes and being an athlete."
Pam Thomson met her daughter at the airport and at the party
that everything has gone right for her and she's won two gold
medals you just think 'well, what happens now then?'
just a really peculiar feeling - but a lovely one."
grandfather, Geoff Norris, said:
"We knew she'd make it in the end, she had to this year,
it's her final year for the Olympics, so it had to be.
we knew it would happen - we were that confident."
champion will get another rousing reception on Wednesday
afternoon - when she takes part in an open-to bus parade
through Hildenborough and nearby Tonbridge, expected to
attract huge crowds.
40,000 people turned out with bunting and banners to watch
Olympic champion Kelly Holmes on her victory parade. Old
classmates, running rivals, family and friends - it seemed
everyone wanted to join the party for returning medal-winner
Kelly Holmes. The buzz surrounding the athlete's historic
victories was enough to tempt people without local connections
to join the party too.
travelled in an open top bus from her home in Hildenborough,
Kent, on a route to Tonbridge High Street, which she used to
run as a child.
The din of
klaxons, whistles and screams on Tonbridge's high street was
ear-splitting as the crowds waited for her open-top bus to
appear. Many of the thousands thronging the Kent town had
waited hours to catch a glimpse of their new hero. Children
wearing union flag dresses waved banners they had made at
home. Meanwhile eager supporters hung out of windows, stood on
roofs and packed the pavements under red, white and blue
bunting - transforming what is normally a quiet market town.
coach Dave Arnold - who guided Holmes from the age of 12 to
two years ago - was at hand to see her homecoming.
He said: "Tens
of thousands of people must have been there cheering and
waving. I've found it such an uplifting experience just to be
will be amazed by this - this is her chance to show her
achievements to her town."
the queue snaking hundreds of yards from the marquee where the
athlete signed autographs, her fans were only too proud to say
she was one of theirs.
on everyone's lips were "we've
never seen anything like this".
a double-Olympic champion comes home to Tonbridge again, a
party on this scale seems unlikely to be repeated in anyone's
said she was overwhelmed by the support for her at the event.
Speaking to the crowds at Tonbridge Castle, Holmes said:
"This has been a long journey for me,
has taken me 20 years to achieve my dream - not once but
have always had this burning desire to be Olympic champion.
all the low points I just kept fighting and this now has made
up for every single thing that has happened to me.
overwhelmed - I thought it was bad enough being in an Olympic
stadium with 60,000 people, but I heard about 40,000 people
turned up today and that is unbelievable.
will never, ever forget this for as long as I live."
Welbon, from Tonbridge Athletics Club, where Holmes first
started training two decades ago said: "We
has put a real buzz into the club. All the athletes and all
the residents of Tonbridge and Hildenborough I am sure are
is nothing better than this and it really will carry us
forward as a club for generations to come.
will, I am sure, bring lots more athletes down to our
Personality of the Year 2004
caps her golden year
bubbling in her eyes, Kelly Holmes was crowned the BBC Sports Personality of
the Year on Sunday and thanked the three coaches who played their part in
her journey into Olympic immortality.
34, followed Paula Radcliffe in 2002 by
lifting one of the most prestigious trophies in British sport, glorious
reward for her amazing summer where she won the 800m and 1500m double at the
Olympic Games in Athens.
praised Dave Arnold, Wes Duncan and Margo Jennings for the role they played.
her former coach, even sent her text messages during the Olympics to offer
advice; Duncan encouraged her to keep on running despite the competitive
break she had in her career while in the military; while Jennings has been
her advisor for the last two years of her career.
has no intention to quit and said after the event: "I
still want to continue to run next year. I haven't decided on what events
I'll run, whether outdoor or indoor. It depends on my fitness levels. I'll
go in for events I know I can win."
Matthew Pinsent, Britain's gold medal rowing star, who was second, and
cricketer Andrew Flintoff, who was third, to the title after viewers voted
from five nominees. The other two were footballer Wayne Rooney and Olympic
boxing silver medallist Amir Khan.
probably sat there more nervous all night than I was at the 1500m in
Holmes. "I was
very nervous because I was more worried that everyone thought I was going to
win and so they wouldn't vote.
the track, I'm in control but I wasn't in control of what happened here, it
was down to the British public - I can never thank them enough."
Albert Hill, in Antwerp in 1920, had a Briton won the middle distance double
at the Olympics.
"I don't know
where I'm going from here. All I wanted was to be a PT instructor in the
army and be Olympic champion - and now I've done both. At the end of the day
I'll never have the same drive but I'll continue running next year because I
gets in gear for what she does best
real Kelly Holmes, the one who trains hard and races tough, has started to
elbow aside the one latterly associated with glamorous outfits and gala
awards nights. Six weeks after questioning whether she would ever again
have the hunger for success that she possessed before her Olympic double,
it was announced yesterday that Holmes will return to racing next month.
Not only did Holmes
say through Fast Track, the sport’s promoter in Britain, that “I
am still competitive, I still want to win”,
but Andy Graffin, a regular training partner, confirmed that she was “putting
in all the sessions”.
Holmes returns today from
work with a sponsor in the United States to spend Christmas at home in
Kent before leaving for a month’s training in South Africa. She has
signed to race at least twice indoors in Britain this winter and, though
it remains unclear whether she will contest the European Indoor
Championships in Madrid in March, that now looks likely.
“It has been such a
hectic time since Athens,”
Holmes said. “It
has been great fun but I am an athlete and running is what I do. I cannot
wait to get back on to the track.”
The first track race
in Britain for Holmes since she won the 800 metres and 1,500 metres in
Athens will be at a venue that contrasts markedly with the Olympic
Stadium. The cramped 4,000-seat Kelvin Hall, in Glasgow, will house
Holmes’s opening competition of 2005, in the Norwich Union International
on January 29. A five-nations match, it will mark her first run in a
Britain vest since the Olympics.
As Russia are one of
the four visiting nations — Sweden, France and Italy being the others
— the opposition could include Tatyana Tomashova, runner-up to Holmes in
the 1,500 metres in Athens. It is at this distance that Holmes will
compete in Glasgow in a two-race deal with Fast Track that includes the
1,000 metres in the Norwich Union Grand Prix, in Birmingham on February
At the end of a year
in which she was crowned BBC Sports Personality of the Year, Holmes’s
commercial value has rocketed and she is likely to be receiving close to
£100,000 for the two-event deal. She may also compete in the European
trials in Sheffield on February 12 and 13.
While in South Africa
last month, giving a training camp for a group of promising British
teenagers, Holmes raised doubts about her future commitment. Aged 34, she
said: “I do not
think I will ever have the same focus. I will never have the same
Time, though, seems to
be sharpening Holmes’s appetite. “She
has decided she wants to do these races and will be training her legs off
to get ready for them,” Graffin
said. He added that she had begun to schedule outside interests around her
training and that she was sometimes running twice in a day.
Prepares to race Indoors
Girl Kelly Holmes will return to the track in the New Year with a series
of races on home soil.
The Double Olympic
Champion will make her first UK track appearance since Athens at the
Norwich Union International match in Glasgow on 29 January.
Holmes will be named
in the British team for the match when it is announced at the beginning of
January. She will also compete at the Norwich Union Grand Prix in
Birmingham on February 18 and admits she is itching to return to
“It has been such a
hectic time since Athens and since I last raced at the end of the summer.
It’s been great fun but I’m an athlete and running is what I do – I
can’t wait to get back on to the track.
“I am still
competitive. I still want to win. These events are also a great
opportunity to thank the British public for the enormous levels of support
they have given me from the moment I stepped off that plane from
season could also include the defence of her indoor AAA 800m title at the
European Trials in Sheffield on February 12 and 13.
The Glasgow match will
be her first outing in a British vest since her 1500m win at the Olympics.
She will compete over the same distance at the city’s Kelvin Hall in a
five-way match against Sweden, France, Russia and Italy.
Her opposition for the
February 18 date at the NIA in Birmingham is yet to be finalised, but
names already confirmed for the 1000m race include the highly ranked
Morrocan Mina Ait Hammou and America’s Jennifer Toomey.
International, Glasgow -
back to racing for Dame Kelly after a hectic time of chat shows, award
ceremonies and charity dinners. The Double Olympic Champion has refused to
lay out her plans for the season but has indicated that a crack at the
European indoor title in March may well depend on how she performs in her
early season outings, starting here in Glasgow.
won the race: “I
enjoyed getting back to racing today the crowd here were fantastic, I’m
pleased to be back. I was not nervous of the race today I was more nervous
of the crowd, I wanted to do well for them. The time did not count
today I felt relaxed and in control during the race and the aim was not to
had an amazing response since the Olympics, which makes me want to run but
I’m not making any comments on the future yet.”
Union Grand Prix, Birmingham
Kelly Holmes made her first appearance in a GB vest since Athens two weeks
ago in Glasgow to a thunderous ovation and can expect a similar reception
from the NIA crowd. The unusual distance of 1000m will test her here.
Commonwealth Bronze medallist Agnes Samaria of Namibia is probably the
athlete she will need to watch.
Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes (Ealing, Southall and Middlesex AC)
treated the crowd to a triple treat. First she stormed to victory in
2:35.39, less than two and a half seconds shy of her UK best. She took off
with 300m to go, her smile broadening with her lead as the crowd almost
lifted the roof off the NIA. Then she further thrilled the crowd by taking
her Olympic 800m and 1500m Gold medals on her lap of honour with her. And
after the action ended, she went through a mega autograph signing session
for her thousands of admirers.
“That was better
than expected. I want to leave the decision about Madrid until the last
possible minute. I hope they put my name down and then I can decide right
at the end. I need to feel that I am able to run well if I go to the
Europeans and tonight has made me feel that. But I think that was with the
crowd behind me; they really cheered me up. I usually do the 1500m indoors
and I think that will be the case this time. I am due to go back to South
Africa on Monday and train again. I normally get confidence from training,
but I am getting it from my races at the moment. When you keep winning,
you feel good. I just need to take my time and feel good about what I am
facing fine over trials
Olympic champion Kelly Holmes faces a fine of around £25,000 after opting
to miss this weekend's trials for the European championship.
brought in last year state athletes who miss trials without proof of
injury or illness will forfeit a quarter of the fee for that season.
spokesman for Fast Track, the sport's promoters in Britain, told the Times
that Holmes would be no exception.
paper said she was set to earn £100,000 for the domestic indoor term.
who won both 800m and 1500m gold in Athens, opened her British indoor
campaign by winning the 1500m at the Norwich Union International in
Glasgow last month.
is also set to race at the Grand Prix in Birmingham on 18 February.
governing body UK Athletics (UKA) said the trials in Sheffield were never
in her plans.
"It was always
Kelly's plan for the indoor season to prioritise only two UK televised
meetings at Glasgow and Birmingham," a
UKA statement said.
intended to compete at the European Indoor Trials. UK Athletics can
confirm Kelly Holmes will not compete in Sheffield."
But a Fast Track
spokesman said: "Kelly
will be fined 25% of her indoor earnings.
"It is a policy
that applies to all GB athletes and Kelly accepts that.
course of contract talks, which resulted in Kelly taking part in Glasgow
and Birmingham, it was explained what would happen if she did not
participate in the trials."
Holmes has always said
she will not decide whether to compete at the European Indoor
Championships in Madrid in March until after Birmingham.
But should she wish
to, it is unlikely to be a problem despite her decision to miss the
UKA selection criteria, selectors can pick athletes who did not compete in
trials on the basis of "exceptional
Holmes voted World Sportswoman of the year
Dame Kelly Holmes has collected her 27th award since her
astonishing gold medal double at the Athens Olympics Games. A jury
consisting of 40 of the greatest sportsmen and women of all time chaired
by the great Edwin Moses honoured Holmes’ achievements by voting her
Laureus World Sportswoman of the year.
of her career whilst receiving her award Holmes said:
could have given up. I had depression, everything. But I felt in my heart
one day it might happen. This is my life, what I have dreamed of forever.'
Holmes is looking forward to even more success this summer and in Portugal
revealed she will contest the IAAF World Championships in August.
training very hard, and just because I've announced I'm going to retire
doesn't mean I'm not going to try my hardest.”
made my decision and it was always the case that I was going to decide
when to retire.'
know that an athlete's life is very short anyway, and I'm 35 now. I don't
want to be a runner that hangs on doing nothing. That's why I wanted it to
be known it is my last year.'
haven't decided whether or not to do the Commonwealth Games next year,'
said Dame Kelly winner of the 1500m title three years ago in Manchester.'
added: 'I'm still
aiming to do the world championships in Helsinki. I'll just have to see
how fit I am! It's still a goal for me to do it.'
beat a host of short listed stars including Olympic pole vault champion Yelena
Isinbayeva, Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Kluft as well as
Maria Sharapova of tennis fame and Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel, the
cyclist from the Netherlands.
signals end of GB career
Dame Kelly Holmes will
make her British track farewell at August's Grand Prix meeting in
"This will be my
last track season on British soil,"
said Holmes. "Sheffield
will be my last track race in the UK."
She has yet to confirm
she will compete at this year's World Championships in Helsinki - or
whether she will run both the 800m and 1500m if she does.
The double Olympic
champion also said her last-ever event could be the 2006 Commonwealth
Games in Melbourne.
Since capturing an
historic 800m and 1500m Olympic double in Athens, Holmes has repeatedly
admitted she has struggled to find motivation ahead of the new season.
of her waning ambition started to show when she opted out of the
compulsory trials for the European Indoor Championships - a decision which
cost her a £25,000 fine.
And the Kent-born
athlete admits she is no longer driven by a hunger to attain more personal
"If you look at
my career, I've won 13 medals from Commonwealth Games, World
Championships, Europeans and Olympic Games so I've got nothing to prove to
myself or anybody else," Holmes
told BBC Sport.
"I've achieved my
dreams so now I'm in a position to say, 'well I can do what I want.'
"At some stage it
has to come to an end and I have to be satisfied I have made my own
"The reception I
get when I step onto the track is so amazing, it's such a buzz and at the
minute that's what is driving me.
announced as Olympic champion, enjoying the atmosphere and the support
that is what I'm looking forward to for the rest of this season."
Holmes will race all
four Norwich Union outdoor events in Glasgow, Manchester, London and
But before Holmes
makes her final farewells to her supporters on home soil there is still
the small matter of the World Championships which begin in Helsinki on 6
The double Olympic
champion has not claimed a world title, settling for two silvers and a
bronze, and has a real chance to add a global title to her collection.
Holmes has not ruled
out doubling up if she decides to compete at the worlds - although she
doubts she will be able to match her golden success in Athens.
"I don't think
I'll be emulating what happened in Athens," Holmes
whether I will ever double up again is another question.
"I'll be doing a
combination of both events this season but I'm not expecting to win
focus is to do all the races in the UK and to get back out enjoying my
"Then if I'm fit
enough to do the worlds and I think I have a great chance of a medal I'll
go. If not, I won't."
uncertain about where her future lies when she finally hangs up her
But the double Olympic
champion has already decided she wants to do more to inspire the next
generation of athletes, after setting up a scheme
to advise eight junior British internationals.
"It's hard to
make plans because I haven't really stopped since the Olympics,"
"But one of my
plans is to keep going helping these young athletes and passing on my
experience. The eights
girls I'm mentoring should be the ones who break through for the 2012
distance running is the strongest it's ever been in Britain at the moment
and I think we'll have some great athletes in the future."
Kelly Holmes out of Championships
Olympic star Kelly Holmes
will miss the World Championships in August because she's still suffering
from an injury.
Dame Kelly has a
problem with her Achilles, which is a part of the foot near the heel. It
flared up while she was running in Glasgow recently.
She said she had been
trying to get over the injury but she's decided she just had to rest it
"I just can't put
into words how disappointed and frustrated I am,"
Kelly, who's 35.
Kelly has also had to
pull out of the Norwich Union Grand Prix in London on 22 August.
But she is still
hoping to be fit for her last-ever British track appearance in Sheffield
in 21 August.
All my focus is now on
racing in Sheffield," she said.
"It's the most
important thing for me at the moment and means more to me than any other
race this season."
Championships will be held in Helsinki in Finland in August 2005.
makes emotional farewell
injury-hit Kelly Holmes limped home in ninth as she made her final track
appearance in the UK at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix in Sheffield.
Holmes made a dramatic
helicopter entrance at the Don Valley Stadium but struggled throughout her
The double Olympic
champion said: "I
knew the crowd were behind me and that was a special thing - it was just
frustrating I couldn't be on top form."
Holmes refused to rule
out defending her Commonwealth 1500m title next year.
"I'm going to have a scan on Tuesday and decide where to go from
"We're not sure
yet whether I'll need an operation or not. I'll let that settle and get
back into fitness.
"With a clear
head, I can then decide on my future and the Commonwealth Games.
don't want to make a rash decision. It depends on the leg and where we go
from this point.
emotional all day. I have to thank the British public and my friends and
Holmes wore a
specially-commissioned black and gold lycra all-in-one body suit and
jacket for her farewell.
summer has been severely disrupted by a recurring Achilles injury which
she picked up in June.
The injury forced the
35-year-old to give up her bid to contest the World Championships in
Helsinki and her recovery has been slow.
"Had I not got my
gold medals, this year would have been devastation," she
"But the fact
that I have my gold medals reminds me that I was very fortunate that last
year came together.
"I gave it my
best shot today and I was pretty pleased considering I haven't run any
thing is knowing I'm not in good shape and I haven't been on the track for
four weeks or put on my spikes.
be racing on that track has been my only major goal for the season, for my
last home run."