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    Kelly Holmes

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    • Kelly Holmes, an English athlete most known for her winning gold medals in the 800 meters and 1500 meters in the 2004 Summer Olympics, was born on April 19, 1970. Holmes attended Hugh Christie Comprehensive School in Tonbridge at the age of twelve. She started training for athletics and joined the Tonbridge Athletics Club. There she was coached by David Arnold and later won the English schools 1500 meter title at the junior and senior levels. Her hero at this time was British middle distance runner, Sebastian Coe. At age 18 Holmes joined the British Army as a lorry driver in the Women's Royal Army Corps. She was later transferred in 1992 to the Adjutant General's Corps as a physical trainer after the corps disbanded. During this time she also became British Army judo champion and in army athletic events once competed in the men's 800 meters because it was thought that to run in the women's event would be too embarrassing for other competitors. She competed in other events and won.

      Holmes decided to become an athlete again after watching Lisa York complete in the 1992 Summer Olympics on television. She had competed against York previously and had won. For some time she kept her job in the army and also engaged in athletics until 1997 when increased funding allowed her to become a full time athlete.

      Holmes won the English national 800 meters in 1993 and the 1500 meters in 1994. She won the gold in the 1500 meters at the 1994 Commonwealth Games. She also broke United Kingdom's 800 meter and 1000 meter record. Holmes did suffer several injuries through the course of her athletic career, which caused her to lose. At the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester she won the 1500 meter gold and at the European Championships in Munich, Holmes won the bronze medal in the 800 meters.

      In 2004 Holmes won in the 800 meter and 1500 meter Summer Olympics in Athens. She had arrived there without any of the injuries that had plagued her in earlier years and she became the seventh British woman to win an athletics gold and the first British woman to win two Olympic gold medals. Holmes was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year's Honors List of 2004. The Queen presented her with the honor at Buckingham Palace on March 9, 2005. Holmes competed in her final race in the United Kingdom on August 21, 2005 and on December 6, 2005 Holmes announced her retirement from athletics, stating, "I actually knew in my heart and mind that it was the right choice and now I feel I can relax and be myself."

      Holmes trained in 2003 for the 2004 Summer Olympics at a French training camp and suffered several leg injuries. She became depressed and began to cut herself with a pair of scissors. In a News of the World newspaper interview she stated, "I made one cut for every day that I had been injured." During this time period she had also considered suicide at least once and later sought help from a doctor, who diagnosed her with clinical depression. Anti-depressants would affect her performance so she used herbal serotonin tablets.

      While training in 2003 for the 2004 Summer Olympics at a French training camp, Holmes suffered a number of leg injuries. Falling deep into depression, she began cutting her wrists and chest over a two-month period. "I made one cut for every day that I had been injured", Holmes stated in an interview with News of the World newspaper. At least once she considered suicide, stating in the same interview, "I even thought briefly, just for a moment, about pressing the scissors harder in my wrists." About her depression she said, "I thought I was cursed. It's the lowest I've ever, ever been." To draw away attention from the scars caused by her self-injury she would claim she had hurt herself while training.

      In the British Sunday newspaper she told of her first self-injurious experience, "I'd locked myself in the bathroom and turned on the taps so nobody could hear me crying. That's when I saw a pair of scissors. I picked them up, opened them and started to cut my left arm. I made one cut for every day I'd been injured. With each one I felt I was punishing myself but at the same time I felt a sense of release that drove me to do it again and again. I knew deep inside that I wouldn't go any further. The whole episode was nothing more than a cry of despair."

      In the same 2005 British Sunday newspaper interview she says, "Now I don't think I'll ever get to that stage again because I've achieved what I've always wanted. I strove to be the best and not give up on it."

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  • self-injury.net is a self-harm community and resource founded in 1999. Provides support, resources, and information on self-harm.
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