Kelly Holmes is one of the ultimate underdogs of the Olympics, having secured two Gold medals in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games despite her age and injuries. Although she was a fierce competitor, Kelly’s biggest battle came with her mental health, with she has since openly discussed in books, on the radio and in the media to support others.Book Kelly Holmes Today!
Former professional track athlete, Dame Kelly Holmes is an Olympic icon, celebrated internationally for her achievements both in sports and for mental health awareness. The Honorary Armoured Colonel had an impressive career in the Forces before gaining global attention with her success in the 800m and 1500m events. Despite such an incredible journey, Kelly has not been victorious without her struggles, and her open battle with mental health issues has started essential discussions around the topic. A highly sought after speaker, Kelly is booked by corporate clients to empower audiences to achieve their dreams and to educate them on the importance of mental health support.
A powerhouse of a sportswoman, Kelly’s future as a track runner was not certain, and prior to her Olympic debut, she pursued a career as an HGV driver in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. Consistently returning to her childhood gold medal aspirations, Kelly began training for her ultimate goal and gained a place to race at the 2004 Athens Olympics. An underdog due to her age, being 34, and her regular injuries, Kelly stunned competitors and global audiences when she secured Gold in the 1500 meters and won the 800m, a lifelong dream achieved for Kelly and a highlight of the Games for many. Outside of her Olympic success, Kelly also won the Commonwealth Games 1500m on two occasions and two silver medals at the World Championships, before retiring in 2005.
Plagued by injuries for much of her sporting career, Kelly’s journey to the top was a constant battle between her health and her goals. A combination of immense pressure, reoccurring leg injuries and desperation led Kelly to spiral into a depression before her Olympic success, and eventually self-harm, feeling suicidal and out of control. Suffering once again after her retirement, the lack of purpose and direction amplified her depression once more and Kelly was left in despair. However, determined to beat her demons, Kelly sought help and has since used her experience to destigmatise mental health issues in the public. She hosted ‘What Do I Do’ a mental health podcast in 2019.
A role model and icon of the sporting world, Kelly is hailed as a hero for her achievements and subsequent advocacy work. Remaining in the spotlight, she has published two books, appeared on numerous television shows and spoke about her experiences on Radio 4’s All in the Mind. Made a Dame in 2005 for her services to athletics, Kelly’s influence is extensive and saw her honoured with the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award. Expanding on such topics as achieving goals, overcoming adversity and mental health, as a speaker Kelly is highly engaging and experienced ensuring audiences are captivated by her content.
"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. The whole site was absolutely buzzing about Kelly’s visit. I have had dozens of emails and personal messages commenting on how wonderful Kelly’s presentation was, and her willingness to engage with people on site. There was one word that has popped up over and over again… Inspirational. The whole site feels privileged to have met Kelly and heard about her journey (and to have seen her medals!)." - Unilever
"Having Dame Kelly at our event definitely added some magic and excitement. Everyone loved seeing her there and it was just brilliant that she ran with the children in the 2.5km, then again as part of the 10km. She spoke to so many people, had lots of photos taken and made a massive impact on the day. A huge thank you to Kelly for her support, it was just wonderful." - Shona Hughes, Global Brand Communications, GlaxoSmithKline
“It was fabulous – she is such a lovely woman and the energy from the audience was fantastic, they all loved her and bless her she was mobbed afterwards for photos and chats and she had time for everyone, really couldn’t have asked for a better guest for our first live event – she has set the bar high.” – Sky
"Kelly arrived to a huge welcome from the Panasonic team which was then followed by an outstanding motivational speech by Kelly. All of the Panasonic team were inspired by Kelly's experiences, words or wisdom and encouragement for the fiscal year ahead." - Cyril Wood, Managing Director, Panasonic UK
"Dame Kelly Holmes spoke inspirationally about her journey to world class excellence. We got a personal and revealing insight into the self-disciplined, goal-orientated planning that underpinned her years of hard work. This was not a story of a single athlete but rather the leading person in a dedicated and professional team. Dame Kelly’s message resounded completely across all levels in our organisation and more importantly across many different nationalities." - Paul Fletcher, Senior Partner, Actis
"Dame Kelly’s visit exceeded our expectations, she really did go above and beyond, not only talking to our Investors in Gold participants but then taking the time to speak individually to colleagues during her guided tour of the building. All of our colleagues really enjoyed sharing in the experience and it was echoed by all what a lovely and personable lady she is." - Neil Clyne, CEO, Cabot Credit Management Ltd
"Dame Kelly Holmes is extremely inspirational and motivational. She should be commended for being such an approachable, down to earth and charming person who has achieved such extraordinary things. An excellent day and superb guests, especially Kelly who made many people’s day in 20CS." - BP
"Kelly tailored her talk to relate to Pampered Chef consultants. She was very motivating and inspiring on a very personable level. Everybody wanted her to stay longer. In our survey 90% said they were very satisfied with her as a guest speaker (the highest option to choose from)." - The Pampered Chef
"Not only inspirational, but without any doubt the best after dinner speaker we have had in 16 years. Engaging, passionate and warm, she patiently posed with a beaming smile and unerring enthusiasm as the 420 audience queued up to take a photograph with her. Grown men were reduced to jelly." - ICAEW
"She met our objectives fantastically. The audience warmed straight away to her great personality. She took the time with each attendee and also promoted her speech after her meet and greet hour. In the seminar her presentation was clear, motivational and completely on point with our message. The audience were very impressed." - The Chartered Insurance Institute
"She spoke to the audience about her varied career, including the highs (and lows) of her journey, and how she overcame numerous obstacles to eventually become a double Olympic champion. Most importantly she spoke about how hard work, commitment and resilience were essential to achieving your goals. Dame Kelly was an extremely confident speaker and what she spoke about resonated with everyone in the room." - Forbo Flooring UK Ltd
"Fantastic - a true inspiration. All our attendees were blown away with not only her sporting achievements, but also by the visible passion she has for her charity work. Her flexibility and wiliness to accommodate our needs was exceptional." - Ipsen Developments Limited
"Thank you, Kelly. You really inspired and motivated the delegates to achieve their life goals, through an interactive and fun session. Your style made for a stunning presentation which engaged the audience 100%. We really appreciated your honesty and openness." - Shell
"It was a pleasure to listen and speak with such an 'ordinary' lady. With the success she has achieved in her career and her life story the whole talk was both motivational and inspirational. Kelly was more than happy to chat at the meal table and answered as many questions as she was asked." - Howdens Joinery Ltd
“Charles Stanley Plc has been a stockbroker and provider of financial services since 1792. Today the company continues to grow with offices nationwide offering a complete investment management service to their clients. Kelly drew on her own inspirational story to deliver a motivational after dinner speech to senior employees of Charles Stanley Plc at their 2013 Business Conference.” - Sir David Howard, Chairman, Charles Stanley PLC
“We had an amazing day and Dame Kelly was an excellent ambassador! Kelly was happy to have numerous selfies and spend time talking to the staff in the call centre which meant a lot! Her speech was brilliant and kept us all spellbound and to some a bit emotional.” – Michelle Hunt, Newlyn Connect Centre
“Please pass our thanks on to Kelly. The delegates’ loved her and all staff were in agreement that she was the best speaker that we have ever had!” – Petrina Parnell, Institute and Faculty of Actuaries
“Many thanks for arranging Dame Kelly. She was amazing and went down a storm at our event. Lovely lady who had time to speak with a lot of people.” – Carmelle, JCI
"It went very well! Better than we could have imagined – very positive feedback. Dame Kelly even joined in on our cocktail making session after! Our clients absolutely loved it. Thank you so much for helping us arrange!!" - Ruby, Exponential E
"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"- Megan, MDLZ
Won Two Gold Medals in 800m & 1500m at the 2004 Athens Olympics
Won 7 Gold, 8 Silver and 4 Bronze Medals in her Running Career
Made an Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps in 2018
Won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2004
Made a Dame for her Services to Sport in 2005
Hosted the Mental Health Podcast ‘What Do I Do’