Dame Kelly Holmes

She/Her

Double Olympic Champion

Double Olympic Champion Col. Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil) is one of the UK’s most popular athletes, respected throughout the world as a role model and an inspiration.

Kelly was raised by her mum on a council estate in Kent. She attended the local secondary school where, due to the belief and support of her PE teacher, she pursued her talent at running. At 18, Kelly left professional running to pursue her first dream, to be in the British army. She became an HGV driver and then a Physical Training Instructor, before being awarded an MBE for services to the British Army in 1998.

Setting and still holding the British records in the 800m and 1000m, Kelly became an Olympic, Commonwealth and European champion that has achieved seven Gold, eight Silver and four Bronze medals throughout her career. This includes her double win in the 800m and 1500m at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, becoming the first Briton in over 80 years to do so. The road to victory was rough, however, with recurring physical injuries contributing to periods of clinical depression and self-harm that continued to affect her just one year before her Olympic double win.

Kelly went on to set up the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust; the charity helps guide disadvantaged young people, getting their lives back on track by using world class athletes to engage, enable and empower, attitudes.

Kelly now specialises in Mental Health, focusing on mental wellbeing in the workplace, drawing from her own experiences of depression and her recent Mental Health First Aid training.

In 2022, she starred in a documentary about her life and coming out as a gay woman, during Pride Month. In ‘Dame Kelly Holmes: Being me’, Dame Kelly spoke candidly about her military and sporting life and how being gay during the ban on LGB members serving in the Armed Forces still had an effect on her decades later.

Kelly is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers, having inspired and motivated audiences in the UK and around the world. Kelly provides practical advice and inspirational vision for achieving ambitions in both the professional and personal worlds, whether that be on the track, in the office or at home.

Previous speaking topics:
• Motivation
• Mental health in the workplace
• Performance, resilience and overcoming adversity
• Inspiration and leadership
• Goal setting and high performing teams
• Health, wellbeing and nutrition
• Sports and peak performance
• Women’s empowerment

QUOTES

"Kelly did a fabulous job in delivering to the brief that she was set. She is so natural, and nice, that the messages she delivers (in her own style) really strike home and her frankness about her own personal journey added to this. There was one word that has popped up over and over again… Inspirational."

Unilever