Make your own free website on

Kelly Holmes, GBR

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z 
Athlete List

Most Visited:

Kelly Sotherton
Kelly Holmes
Paula Radcliffe
Yelena Isinbayeva
Emily Pidgeon


Lizzie Hall
Nikki Hamblin

Ashia Hansen
Joanne Harvey

Melissa Hawtin

Blue Haywood

Adam Hickey

essica Hicks
Ron Hill

Kate Hindle

Aine Hoban

Angus Holford
Miles Hollinshead

Claire Holme

Kelly Holmes

Katie Holt

Sarah Hopkinson
Tom Humpheries
Ben Hunter




Full Name: Kelly Holmes
Born: 19 April 1970, (Pembury, Kent)
Sex:  Female
Height: 1.64m
Weight: 55kg
Event: Middle Distance
Club: Ealing, Southall and Middlesex AC (formally Tonbridge AC)
Coach: Margo Jennings
On Camp With Kelly

Having won 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.

She was 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. 

200m 24.8 2nd July 1996 Portsmouth, GBR
400m 53.8 2nd July 1996 Portsmouth, GBR
600m 1:25.41 2nd September 2003 Naimette-Xhovemont, BEL UK Record
800m 1:56.21 9th September 1995 Monaco, MON UK Record
1000m 2:32.55 15th June 1997 Leeds, GBR UK Record
1500m 3:57.90 28th August 2004 Athens Olympics, GRE UK Record
1 Mile 4:28.04 30th August 1998 Glasgow, GBR
3000m 9:08.7 5th July 1995 Cosford, GBR
3 Miles 27:50 May 1999
10,000 34:54 12th January 1997 Hastings, GBR
800m 1:59.21 9th February 2003 Ghent, BEL
1000m 2:32.96 20 February 2004 Birmingham, GBR UK Record
1500m 4:09.78 21st February 2003 Birmingham, GBR

"At 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 full-time."

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. 

Her first 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 Commonwealth Games.


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.

Olympic Games 


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".

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.


Commonwealth Games

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.

 Commonwealth Games


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 1500m.

Within days she was back on the track, setting a British 600m record of 85.41 in Liege.



Holmes with Record Bonus

AAAs Indoors

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, Sheffield

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," said Holmes.

“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 Championships”.



World Indoors

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 into gold.

"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 that race."

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 anything else.

"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 special."


Going for Gold: Kelly Holmes

Olympic Trials, Manchester


Kelly gets Olympic 800m qualifying mark

Kelly Holmes

Kelly Holmes 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 Athens.

"The 1500m 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." 

She admitted 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.

"I 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," she said.


London Grand Prix, Crystal Palace

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.

Kelly 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.

"I 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.  

“Everyone 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 Olympics."  

Kelly 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 August.  

Holmes, 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. 

Holmes was in the lead at the bell, and her and Janowska pulled away on the last lap.

Holmes, 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.”

Well 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.”


Golden League, Zurich


Athens Olympics 2004

Kelly Holmes Kelly Holmes

Pre-race: Athens: Britain's 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 priority.

"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 on Friday."

"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 the 34-year-old.

"I feel I am running well enough to reach the final in both events so if it is a dilemma, it is a happy dilemma.

"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 regrets." 


Athens 2004: 800m FINAL

Kelly Holmes lived her dream last night by winning the Olympic Games 800m title.

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 career,” said Holmes. “I just can’t believe it, I have been waiting for this all my life.”

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 1:56.43.

“When I crossed the line I thought I had won but I was not sure and thought, well maybe I haven’t,” added Holmes. “Everyone 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.”

Holmes confesses to checking the replay twice to make sure she had won, before savouring her moment on the podium

Afterwards Holmes revealed that it was a very tough decision whether to run the 800m.

 “I only 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.

 “My race plan was to hold back and then give it everything in the last 150m,” said Holmes. “I 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.

“I knew 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.”

Afterwards Holmes also paid tribute to her UK Athletics physio Alison Rose.

“This is the first year I have not been injured,” she added. “I have never been able to maximize my potential before and that has made a huge difference.”

Jo Pavey 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.”


1500m final


Britain's 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.

The double champion, who took 800m gold on Monday, finished three metres clear of Russia's Tatyana Tomashova.

Once again 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.  

"I can't 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. 

1500m qualifying



Kelly Holmes' mother,  Pam Thomson watched her daughter take gold in the women's 1500m final to make Olympic history in the Athens stadium. 

Speaking after watching her daughter's triumph Ms Thomson said her daughter's finish "was just breathtaking".

"Words simply are not enough at a time like this," she said.

"Kelly has 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 dreamed" of gaining a second gold medal.

"I just 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 said.

"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 her."

Ms Thomson could not travel to watch her daughter in Athens because she has not got a passport. 

Holmes 'stunned' by success

Kelly 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.

Holmes 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.

The last and only time a Briton achieved the middle-distance double was when Albert Hill triumphed in Antwerp 84 years ago.

Holmes 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.

"It feels like I'm going to wake up in the morning and have to do it all over again," said Holmes.

"The hardest thing was focusing on the race and pretending that I hadn't already won one.

"I have 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."

Holmes 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.

She 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.

In 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 up," she said.

"The 1500m 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.

"I knew 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."

Holmes admitted 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 moment."

As Holmes 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.

Kelly carried the Great Britain Flag in the Closing ceremony.
Holmes keeps on running

Double Olympic gold medallist Kelly Holmes has no plans to retire following her memorable exploits in Athens.

The 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.

"The most important thing now is to enjoy my sport and appreciate all the things it gives me."

Holmes was given the honour of carrying the flag for Great Britain at Sunday's closing ceremony.

British Olympic chief Simon Clegg paid tribute to her achievement. "It is unbelievable," 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."

Holmes, 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."

Holmes, 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.

"I still have a few races to do this season, which is going to be pretty tough," she said. 

"The 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."

If she extends her career into next season, Holmes could go for more gold at the World Championships in Helsinki.

The 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.

"All 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 have."

"Everything I've ever dreamed of has come true."

Holmes 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.

"I thought I've got to give it a go, because I don't want to live with regrets," she said. "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 risk."

Holmes' place in history

Kelly Holmes' double gold in the 800m and 1500m has been hailed as one of the greatest achievements in Olympic history.

Holmes set a new British record and ended up as the only Team GB athlete to claim individual track and field gold.

But she did more than merely save her under-performing team-mates' blushes and more than simply fulfil a personal Olympic dream. In doing the 800m-1500m double, the 34-year-old from Tonbridge achieved a rare Olympic feat.

Olympic middle-distance great Sebastian Coe, who was Holmes' idol growing up, described her achievement as "phenomenal". Lord 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 supreme."

Another 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 achievement. "Britain's 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 said. "She 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."

The statistics show the enormity of Holmes' achievement: 

·  Only 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.

After her 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.

Not only 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.

Her life 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 greats.

Town parties for homecoming queen: Holmes given hero's welcome

Olympic heroine Kelly Holmes was welcomed back to her home town with a surprise party at her local pub.

After 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.

Holmes won the 800m and 1500m in Athens, becoming one of the stars of the games, which closed on Sunday.

She said it was nice to be with people she had known for years and who had been through ups and downs with her.

After her second triumph on Saturday she admitted she was struggling to come to terms with the enormity of what she had achieved.

She 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.

And friends and family crammed into the Hilden Manor to congratulate her at Monday night's private party.

She told the BBC: "This is really nice because it's all my close family and friends and people I've known for absolutely years.

"So 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."

Her mother Pam Thomson met her daughter at the airport and at the party said: "Now that everything has gone right for her and she's won two gold medals you just think 'well, what happens now then?'

"It's just a really peculiar feeling - but a lovely one."

Holmes' 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.

"But we knew it would happen - we were that confident."

The double 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.

An estimated 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.

Holmes 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.

Her former 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 there.

"Kelly will be amazed by this - this is her chance to show her achievements to her town."

Judging by 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.

The words on everyone's lips were "we've never seen anything like this".

And unless a double-Olympic champion comes home to Tonbridge again, a party on this scale seems unlikely to be repeated in anyone's lifetime.

Holmes 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,

"It has taken me 20 years to achieve my dream - not once but twice.

"I have always had this burning desire to be Olympic champion.

"Through all the low points I just kept fighting and this now has made up for every single thing that has happened to me.

"I am 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.

"I will never, ever forget this for as long as I live."

Jonathan Welbon, from Tonbridge Athletics Club, where Holmes first started training two decades ago said: "We are delighted.

"It has put a real buzz into the club. All the athletes and all the residents of Tonbridge and Hildenborough I am sure are delighted.

"There is nothing better than this and it really will carry us forward as a club for generations to come.

"It will, I am sure, bring lots more athletes down to our track."



BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2004



Holmes caps her golden year

TEARS 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.

Holmes, 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.

Holmes praised Dave Arnold, Wes Duncan and Margo Jennings for the role they played.

Arnold, 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.

But Holmes 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."

She beat 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.

"I probably sat there more nervous all night than I was at the 1500m in Athens," said Holmes. "I was very nervous because I was more worried that everyone thought I was going to win and so they wouldn't vote.

"On 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."

Not since Albert Hill, in Antwerp in 1920, had a Briton won the middle distance double at the Olympics.

She added: "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 can."



Holmes gets in gear for what she does best

THE 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 18.

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 hunger.”

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.


Kelly Prepares to race Indoors

Golden 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 competitive action:

“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 Greece.”

Holmes’ indoor 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.


NU International, Glasgow - 

Pre-race: It’s 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.

Kelly 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 disgrace myself.

I’ve had an amazing response since the Olympics, which makes me want to run but I’m not making any comments on the future yet.”


Norwich Union Grand Prix, Birmingham

Pre-race: 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.

Double 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 doing.”


Holmes facing fine over trials

Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes faces a fine of around £25,000 after opting to miss this weekend's trials for the European championship.

Rules 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.

A spokesman for Fast Track, the sport's promoters in Britain, told the Times that Holmes would be no exception.

The paper said she was set to earn £100,000 for the domestic indoor term.

Holmes, 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.

She is also set to race at the Grand Prix in Birmingham on 18 February.

But 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.

"She never 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.

"During the 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 trials. 

Under UKA selection criteria, selectors can pick athletes who did not compete in trials on the basis of "exceptional circumstances".


Dame Holmes voted World Sportswoman of the year
17 May 2005
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.

Speaking of her career whilst receiving her award Holmes said:

“I 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.'

Now Holmes is looking forward to even more success this summer and in Portugal revealed she will contest the IAAF World Championships in August.

“I'm 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.” she said.

“I made my decision and it was always the case that I was going to decide when to retire.'

'I 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.'

'I 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.'

She 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.'

Holmes 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.


Holmes signals end of GB career

By Sarah Holt

Dame Kelly Holmes will make her British track farewell at August's Grand Prix meeting in Sheffield.

"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.

Signs 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 success.

"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 decision.

"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.

"Being 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 Sheffield.

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 August.

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 said. "But 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 everything now.

"The focus is to do all the races in the UK and to get back out enjoying my running.

"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."

Holmes remains uncertain about where her future lies when she finally hangs up her spikes.

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," admitted Holmes.

"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 Olympics.

"Middle 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 some more.

"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."

The World Championships will be held in Helsinki in Finland in August 2005.



Holmes makes emotional farewell


An 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 800m race.

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.

She said: "I'm going to have a scan on Tuesday and decide where to go from there.

"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.

"I don't want to make a rash decision. It depends on the leg and where we go from this point.

"It's been emotional all day. I have to thank the British public and my friends and family."

Holmes wore a specially-commissioned black and gold lycra all-in-one body suit and jacket for her farewell.

Her 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 said.

"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 hard sessions.

"The hardest 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.

"To be racing on that track has been my only major goal for the season, for my last home run."


Athletics Biographies Home

Athletics Superstars Home