Dame Kelly Holmes

Kent's own First Lady of Sport, Dame Kelly Holmes, in the first of a monthly series where she invites us to share her world

Dame Kelly Holmes

Kent’s own First Lady of Sport, Dame Kelly Holmes, in the first of a monthly series where she invites us to share her world

I have always valued the support I’ve received from the people in my home town of Hildenborough/Tonbridge and of course Kent itself.  Since coming back from Athens in 2004 to a reception fit for the Queen’s Jubilee, life has not quite been the same. When I think back to the girl I once was, bounding around the streets of Hildenborough, Weald Leigh and Penshurst, sprinting up the steep muddy hills at Knole Park in Sevenoaks or running lap upon lap around the Tonbridge School athletics track, it fills me with pride to say I am a Maid of Kent through and through and proud to have brought the glory back to our county.

Now I would like to give you an insight into ‘my world’ the crazy, interesting, tiring but exciting life I have stepped into and share with you behind the scene thoughts, hopes and opinions.

You may well have read in the papers and seen in the news that I was in Delhi to support the Commonwealth Games in my role as President of Team England. It was fantastic to be able to support all of the different sports our England competitors were in.

In fact, it is the only time I have been able to really go around and watch numerous different sports since retiring and I must say it was a great experience. There's no doubt that India took on something they really wanted to do, but perhaps didn't realise the enormity of the task ahead. They lost their way a bit, and weren't helped by a monsoon in the lead up, and with all the negative press beforehand it just seemed to get worse for them, but to give them their due, they really pulled it off.

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Team England exceeded expectations by winning 45 Gold, 60 Silver and 45 Bronze medals, and with 2012 just around the corner, performances like these are exactly what is needed to give the athletes the motivation and belief to move up to the next level. I even got into the Indian spirit by having a henna tattoo.

As part of my ‘On Camp with Kelly’ mentoring initiative supported by Aviva, I invited seven of the girls to India for a behind-the-scenes experience at the Commonwealth Games. This was a chance for them to understand what it is like at a multi-sport event so that as athletes they can witness first hand the enormity of Games like this and also experience environments that will stand them in great stead for their own careers.

Life has not all been about sport. Since achieving both my goals in life, I have struggled to find what the next venture should be, because being in the British Army and winning an Olympic Gold medal is all I ever wanted, so I have had to soul search a little.

I am now on the next ‘life journey’ and becoming a business woman is one of my aims. As I always say in life you never stop learning so I put myself on a course at the Institute of Directors hopefully one day things will start to sink in! 

I have written a new book called Just Go for It, out this month, which gives six simple steps to success, the basic principle of setting goals and being positive.

You may also see me on TV a few times as I will be filming a new Channel 4 show. I won’t reveal the name of it yet, in case I don’t get into the final, but it will take a lot of determination and commitment and I need to be ready and fit which takes me onto the question so many people ask me: do I train anymore?

Well, I have just started getting back into my running. I can’t say it’s anywhere at all near the intensity and volume I did when I was a competing, but it brings me back to where I started, pounding (not bounding so much) the streets of Hildenborough, theWeald, Leigh and Penshurst.

Nothing changes in life much does it?

Just Go For It, 6 Simple Steps to Achieve Success, by Dame Kelly Holmes (Hay House, �10.99)

For more information, please visit: www.doublegold.co.uk and www.weareengland.org

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