One of the most inspiring British athletes of all-time, Dame Kelly Holmes is best known for winning two Olympic titles at the Athens Games in 2004. Since then Kelly has become one of the most easily recognisable faces in British sport also winning two Commonwealth Games gold medals and a whole host of World and European Championship gongs. Reaching the pinnacle of your sport is not easy and along the way, Kelly suffered from a number of setbacks. In 2019 she launched her own podcast, What Do I Do? discussing her own mental health issues and how she overcame them. This is something she can also do as a mental health speaker using her own personal insights to inspire others.
A hugely talented athlete, Kelly won a plethora of medals in her career, but the Olympics was always her main dream. Following a bronze medal in the 800m in Sydney in 2000 she placed all her focus on winning in 2004 in Athens. She did exactly that storming to a double gold medal win in the 800m and 1500m. These victories made her only the third woman in history to achieve this and the accolades kept coming once the Games had drawn to a close. This included being named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and being named a Dame by the Queen.
Before her sporting career took off Kelly served in the British army working as a sergeant. But while watching the Olympics in 1992 Kelly became inspired to give athletics a go. Originally combining her athletics training alongside her military responsibilities she became a full-time athlete in 1997.
The journey to the top was not an easy one. In fact, when suffering from an injury she would frequently self-harm consumed by the pressure to recover and compete at the top levels. Kelly also had suicidal thoughts and was diagnosed with depression prior to the Olympics in 2004, after years of suffering on her journey to success. These experiences have been well documented in her books and during her mental health speaking events, Kelly shares these low moments with audiences inspiring them with her remarkable story.
“If you could pass on to Kelly a personal thanks from myself and Katie. The talk exceeded our expectations, the energy, authenticity and inspiration Kelly gave our colleagues was brilliant and since the session finished only 30 minutes ago, we have been inundated with positive feedback and comments. A huge thank you for agreeing to be part of our employee wellbeing initiative”
“Would you be able to pass on not only my thanks but a huge thank you to Dame Kelly on behalf of everyone at the hospice. Dame Kelly truly went above and beyond for the hospice on Friday and we are extremely grateful. It was an absolute pleasure for our Fundraising Director to show Dame Kelly around the hospice prior to the event. The audience absolutely loved Dame Kelly’s interview with Dougie on stage and thought she really was a true inspiration. We truly hope Dame Kelly enjoyed being involved.”
“She was fantastic. Really engaging and spent so much time with everyone. It’s being really talked about across the company – people just loved her session and how engaging she was. Thank you!”