Double Olympic Gold Winner, Athlete & Motivator
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Col Dame Kelly Holmes (MBE mil) is one of Britain’s most recognisable and admired athletes. She has won Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European medals, and added the ultimate sporting trophy to her cabinet at the Athens Olympic Games – Double Olympic Gold. Kelly was the first woman to accomplish this.
Kelly, however is not only known for her medals and records, but also for her gutsy, committed approach to athletics and her ability to overcome injury and illness in order to still stay at the top of her discipline. Her strength and courage has won her many fans both within the sport and outside of it.
She started her athletics career as a promising athlete as a junior and won the 1,500m at the English Schools Championships, but chose to give up her early athletics career in favour of a career in the army, initially as a HGV driver and then a PTI. She signed up a few months before her 18th Birthday and over the next 9 years worked her way quickly up the ranks until she was a Sergeant. She joined with the aim of making the rank of Officer, but once she started to run again, initially for the forces, and started to win major titles she faced a really tough decision – army or running?
In 1997 she took a massive step and left the army, making athletics her focus and career. Her desire to be the best demands that she gives 100%, something she does in everything she takes on. She has the fundamental element for success – the ability to be focused. She was awarded the MBE in 1998 for services to the British Army and was honoured by the Queen in the 2005 New Year’s honours with a Damehood. In 2004 Kelly was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. In 2018, Kelly was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps, marking her return to the army.
Kelly retired from competition in the autumn of 2005 with twelve major honors to her name, but remained heavily involved in sport, running her ‘On Camp with Kelly’ initiative where she mentored a group of promising junior international female athletes. Among her many activities Kelly has also written her autobiography, ‘Black, White & Gold’, appeared in the Celebrity TV Series ‘Dancing on Ice’, and has been appointed by the government as the first National School Sport Champion.
In 2008 Kelly founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, with a vision to get young lives on track using the unique skills of world class athletes to engage, enable and empower. Kelly is a respected role model and an inspiration who lends her support to various charities close to her heart. These include Mind and Heads Together. In 2016 Kelly featured alongside Prince Harry in a campaign for Heads Together in which she opened up about tough times making her stronger.
Kelly speaks passionately on employee wellbeing and mental health, motivation, inspiration, sports, entrepreneurship and diversity & inclusion.
"You really inspired and motivated the delegates to achieve their life goals, through an interactive and fun session. Your style made for a stunning presentation which engaged the audience 100%." Jane Underwood, Shell