Kelly Holmes battled through an injury-ravaged career to win gold medals in both the 1,500m and 800m events at the Athens Olympic Games 2004.
Holmes started to run at the age of 12 as a schoolgirl in Kent, but despite winning international events she turned her back on an athletics career to join the British army at 18, where she spent nine years and was promoted to the rank of sergeant. After four years away from the track she returned in 1992 and by the European Championships at Helsinki in 1994 was good enough to win the 1,500m silver. A year later at the World Championships in Gothenburg she took silver in the 1,500m as well as a bronze in the 800m.
Preparations for the Atlanta Olympics were hindered by injury and Kelly had to settle for a disappointing 11th over her preferred distance, but managed fourth in the 800m.
She headed for the 1997 World Championships as hot favourite and was seconds faster over 1,500M than any other runner that year. But Athens again proved a disappointment when Holmes tore an Achilles tendon in the first round.
At the 1998 Commonwealth Games luck smiled on her, and she took 1,500m gold with a run of three minutes 58.07 seconds that handed her the British and Commonwealth records.
At the Sydney Olympics in 2000 Kelly won bronze in 1:56.80 in the 800m. It seemed that this was to be the highlight of her career, as further injuries brought her preparations for Athensto a halt. "I could have given up. I had depression, everything. But I felt in my heart one day it might happen," Holmes said.
Kelly Homes, although now 34, persevered in the face of misfortune and qualified for the British Olympic team just in time for Athens. The runner who was once taunted as "sick note Holmes" was given the honour of carrying the flag for Great Britain at the Games closing ceremony.