An Interview With Kelly Holmes: Part IIPosted on: 31 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Kelly Holmes looks ahead to the Beijing Olympics.
Four years after capturing the nation's hearts in Athens, Kelly Holmes is once again setting off for the Olympic Games.
But this year Kelly won’t be competing. Instead she’ll be behind the camera and working on numerous projects after retiring from athletics three years ago.
I'll miss the buzz and hype surrounding the Games
And Britain’s most successful athlete is relishing her role from the stands instead of the pressure surrounding the medal hopefuls.
“I certainly wouldn't want to be there performing," says Kelly.
"I'd like to be fitter than I am now but I'd have to do the training so that's not going to happen!”
“I will miss the camaraderie with the British team, the buzz and hype surrounding the Games and the feeling that you're there with other athletes competing at such a high level.”
“But I’m really looking forward to watching on from afar and enjoying all the elements and without having to worry about everything.”
The focus and discipline is something Kelly definitely won't miss.
“All the feelings you go through: you get so apprehensive, so nervous you're just constantly thinking 'what's the outcome going to be, am I going to achieve my ultimate aim?'”
“It's great when you're at something like the Olympics, don't get me wrong. It's brilliant to have that feeling of going for something really big.”
“I think if I hadn't achieved what I have I'd have a different view of things, but I have nothing to prove to myself on that front anymore.”
Kelly will be watching with interest as a "strong British squad", in her opinion, will be gunning for glory in China.
In fact the Olympic champion believes it could be a year to remember for British Olympics.
“I think we've got a chance to pick up lots of medals right across the sports," she says.
“One that I'm really interested in is Vicky Pendleton in the cycling. She's already World Champion from earlier this year in Manchester. She's a really great girl, very focused, and if she performs at her best she will bring back a medal.”
“We’re traditionally very strong in the cycling and I think Mark Cavendish has been quite remarkable in the Tour de France. If he can pull another performance out like that he could also be a winner.”
Rowing is another area Kelly thinks Britain could succeed in.
“I was speaking to Steve Redgrave and he was saying how he thinks the women's four might win gold in rowing which will be great because the guys have won it in the past.”
“We always seem to have strong rowing and sailing teams so fingers cross we could pick a couple of gold medals up in both sports.”
And in athletics Kelly also has high hopes for Team GB.
“Kelly Sotherton is looking at the gold this year, with her main rivals Carolina Kluft and Jessica Ennis not competing in the heptathlon.”
“Phillips Odowu in triple jump is world number one at the moment. As long as he keeps his head, goes there and just treats it like any other, he'll do very well.”
“He's always shown so much promise over the years but not always delivered on the big stage. I know from experience how you can end up trying too hard at major championships and with a technical event like triple jump, that can be a problem. But hopefully he'll keep cool.”
“Nicola Sanders and Christine Ohuruogu have been excellent in the 400m, Jade Johnson in the long jump and the relay teams all have good prospects. It’s really exciting for British athletics.”
It'll put the 'Great' back into Great Britain
With the forthcoming London Olympics in 2012, Kelly believes now is the time for sport to take a central role in British life.
“It’s an absolutely massive opportunity; I’m delighted the Olympics is coming to London. I think it will be an amazing opportunity to really inspire people from all walks of life.”
“Athletes, volunteers, children, grandparents, I think it’s the type of event that will stand up and get the whole of Britain watching and taking notice.”
“The Olympics gives so many people the chance to be really involved and that is my hope for 2012 - that everybody will feel part of it.”
“It’ll put the ‘Great’ back into Great Britain and it will help shape sport for the future. It’s a big chance for Britain.”
“Hopefully the government will see what affect sport can have on people of all ages, especially at grass roots."
In the four years since her Olympic dreams became a reality, Kelly’s hardly had time to put her feet up.
Instead she’s been working on various projects in the hope of nurturing talented youngsters wishing to emulate her success
“I’m not the type of person to sit about and twiddle my thumbs. I’ve been very busy.”
“As I was preparing for the Athens Olympics I came up with the idea of setting up a mentoring initiative called On Camp With Kelly to help young athletes learn from my experiences.”
“That’s still ongoing and has been very successful and just recently I’ve been very busy setting up the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. That aims to give young athletes the life skills they need to develop and perform at the top of their ability.”
Kelly hopes a new inspiration will be born from the Beijing Games which gets underway on August 8.
“Hopefully we’ll find another new hero in Beijing, a new role model and someone to look up to. I believe if someone inspires you to do something, it makes you even more determined to reach your goals.”
By Mark O'Haire
Dame Kelly Holmes’ official website: www.doublegold.co.uk
On Camp With Kelly: www.oncampwithkelly.co.uk
Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust: www.dkhlegacytrust.org
Who do you think will strike gold in Beijing? Can Team GB make it an Olympics to remember for Britain? What are your favourite Olympic memories?
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