Double Olympic champion is now motivated by helping others through the lessons she learned on the arduous journey to gold at Athens 2004
Dame Kelly Holmes is a great believer in fate. As such, she sees the double Olympic gold she achieved at the Athens Games of 2004 as part of a journey which has since enabled her to help others, through both mental and physical struggles, and even lately following her experience of coronavirus.
“I used to think that winning a gold medal was my destiny,” she tells AW, “but I feel like it was part of a journey to be able to talk about perseverance and commitment. Too many people give up, unfortunately, before they know how much they can achieve in life and I’m just pleased that I didn’t so that I can pass that message on.”
READ MORE: Great moments – Kelly Holmes’ dream double
Holmes has spoken openly and honestly about the challenges she overcame to become the 2004 Olympic 800m and 1500m champion and has gone on to use the same mindset she employed there in many other positive ways.
“I am a global inspirational speaker, which I really enjoy doing,” says the multiple world medallist, who has also previously highlighted the impact her military career had on her athletics journey. “I do mental health awareness but I also do work around success and high achievement and also that kind of visualisation.”
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Speaking with AW during her recovery from coronavirus in November, she adds: “I feel that through every experience that you go through is the next door that opens. Going through bereavement with my mum and how proud she was opened the door, having this (coronavirus) even now has been quite a traumatic time in a way so another door opens to be able to think differently, describe things differently, and actually know that you can still keep doing things even though there are barriers.
“I’m proud that if people said to me would I go through that journey again if I achieved the same then yes, you’d go through those journeys because of the outcome. If I didn’t win two gold medals then it might be a different story!
“I feel like it’s life, we all have our lives to lead and you can choose to go for it and make the most of every situation and not think that a barrier is always a step back. A barrier sometimes is a starting point to grow, to learn and to change things. I hope that if I can give that message across then that helps people.”
“We all have our lives to lead and you can choose to go for it and make the most of every situation and not think that a barrier is always a step back. A barrier sometimes is a starting point to grow, to learn and to change things”
Holmes shared her experience of Covid-19 on social media, updating a post each day with her symptoms and recovery.
“I was really ill when I was writing things on my timeline,” she explains. “But I thought ‘do you know what, some people have had no one close to them have it (coronavirus) or know it, so they just don’t know what it is’.
“Having it yourself makes you reflect and pass on the message because I didn’t have anything to do with the three main symptoms – I didn’t have a temperature, I didn’t have a persistent cough and I didn’t lose my taste or smell until about day five or so. I just knew that somebody I had been filming with had a positive test.
“I suddenly came down with really bad headaches and throat and just thought ‘this isn’t right’. It wiped me out and I don’t get wiped out that much.
“I had the positive test which was actually a bit of a shock. I was so low with it and down, I just thought ‘I need to tell people’. What was nice is that people were commenting underneath my feed saying how they were coping with it which was then helping others. That is all I try to do – say a story to hopefully help people think differently, change what they think about something or actually deal with it and cope with it in the best way they can.
“I only have this platform because I won two gold medals and I only won two gold medals because I never gave up, so it all helps.”
Lead photo by Mark Shearman
» Click here to read more from a recent interview with Dame Kelly Holmes as she reflects on her Olympic dream double from 16 years ago