Dame Kelly Holmes crosses the finishing line in Athens 2004
Unquestionably Dame Kelly Holmes is the first lady of British sport. She was just plain old Kelly Holmes when she started her athletics career started as a junior athlete but left the track once she finished school to follow her dream of joining the army. She caught the Olympic bug watching in 1992 games in Barcelona, encouraged and perhaps made sightly jealous by the sight of one of her former training partners starring in the 1500m final.
She was awarded a bronze medal in the 800m back in Sydney in 2000, but 2004 was to be the year Kelly Holmes became a household name. She bettered her previous achievements by winning gold in both the 1500 and 800m in Athens.
Kelly had already been awarded an MBE from her time with the military and thanks to her Olympic success this was upgraded and she became Dame Kelly Holmes in 2005.
There’s something about her passion for sport and fitness that people find infectious, who can forget that poor drunk superfan, high on her Olympic success who stumbled into their local tattoo parlour asking for a ‘Kelly Holmes’ tattoo but left with ‘Kelly Homes’ after apparently slurring their speech (if you've never seen it I advise you to Google). There aren’t many from the world of athletics that inspire such devotion from their fans and that is why Kelly Holmes is an Olympic legend.
Picture Credit: Rex Pictures