“Sometimes, when I walk out onto the track I think, ‘What am I doing here? Why do I put myself through this?’ But that’s when you really get into your focus … you focus on the race you are going to run.”Kelly Holmes
Colonel Dame Kelly Holmes is a British icon and an inspiration.
She joined the British Army at 17, serving for nearly 10 years as a qualified HGV driver and Physical Training Instructor and in 1998, she was awarded an MBE in recognition of her services to the armed forces.
During a 12-year international career, Kelly won multiple medals at Commonwealth, European, World and Olympic levels, culminating in two Gold Medals at the 2004 Athens Olympics Games for the 800m and 1500m, which cemented her place in history as the first woman ever in Great Britain to win two gold medals at the same games.
She was honoured with a Damehood in 2005 for services to sport.
Today Kelly is a Global Inspirational Speaker, an award-winning author, as well as a champion of fitness, wellness and mental health.
She continues to be President of the charity she founded in 2008, Dame Kelly Holmes Trust – a charity which supports disadvantaged young people using the unique skills of world-class athletes to engage, enable and empower for which she won a Beacon award for philanthropy in 2017.
In 2018, she was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment. Dame Kelly became the first person to be attached to a regular regiment as an Honorary Colonel, which was required to be signed off by the Queen.
In 2020, Kelly was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of York to add to 12 others she has received since retiring.
In June this year, Dame Kelly came out publicly as a gay woman in an emotional and powerful documentary called Kelly Holmes: Being Me, where she explains how after 34 years of fear, she finally feels free to be her authentic self and wants to use her voice to educate and inform on D&I matters.