Dame Kelly Holmes has enjoyed a successful career in sports, formerly competing as a middle distance athlete at the Olympics, World Championships, Commonwealth Games and European Championships. Having won two Olympic Gold medals and two Gold Commonwealth Games medals, Kelly has also earned induction into the England Athletics Hall of Fame and continues to hold the record for the 600m and 1000m. Having also served in the Women’s Royal Army Corps, Kelly has recently made headlines after she came out as gay after 34 years of hiding her true identity. When looking for a speaker who will share their experience of mental health, coming out and the importance of diversity and inclusion, book Dame Kelly Holmes today.
Beginning training at just 12 years old, Kelly had a talent for athletics from a young age. However, she was forced to turn away from athletics when she chose to join the British Army at 18, working as an HGV driver in the Women’s Royal Army Corps. Later becoming a Physical Training Instructor, Kelly was inspired to return to her athletics training, going on to compete in the 1994 Commonwealth Games where she won Gold, the 1994 European Championships where she won Silver, the 1995 World Championships where she won Silver and the 2000 Olympic Games where she claimed Bronze. Unfortunately, in 2003, Kelly suffered an injury during training for the 2004 Olympic Games, which left her severely depressed and led to her self-harming. Despite the adversity she faced, Kelly was determined to succeed, and claimed Gold twice at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.
Having claimed countless other medals for her talents, and set the British record for the 600m and the 1000m, Kelly made the decision to retire from athletics in 2005. In recognition of her impressive achievements and determination, Kelly was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame, appointed DBE and made an Honorary Colonel with the Royal Armoured Corps Training Regiment. She has since also founded the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, to support young people facing disadvantage, been the President of Commonwealth Games England and claimed the title of Laureus World Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year.
Making headlines, Kelly Holmes came out as gay in 2022, having spent 34 years of her life hiding her true identity. Stating that she felt ‘finally free’, Kelly had to hide her sexuality throughout her time in the Army due to it being illegal at her time of service. Now booked as a diversity and inclusion speaker for a variety of corporate events, Kelly drives home the historic homophobia that continues to serve as a barrier to others wanting to come out. Having also struggled with her mental health, Kelly delivers emotive speeches on mental health and wellbeing, sharing the importance of reaching out for help and support. Having delivered the TEDx talk Life Discovery, Kelly is a seasoned speaker with many top-tier clients already to her name. When looking for a speaker who raises awareness on mental health, LGBT+ rights, wellbeing, female empowerment and many more important topics, book Dame Kelly Holmes today.
“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.”
“Kelly was fantastic. We enjoyed having her on stage and the audience were clearly engaged – she covered a wide variety of topics in a relatable way. I have heard nothing but positive feedback from attendees. The crowd were particularly interested in her charitable endeavours. She was both humble and inspiring.”
“Would you be able to pass on not only my thanks but a huge thank you to Dame Kelly on behalf of everyone at the hospice. Dame Kelly truly went above and beyond for the hospice on Friday and we are extremely grateful. It was an absolute pleasure for our Fundraising Director to show Dame Kelly around the hospice prior to the event. The audience absolutely loved Dame Kelly’s interview with Dougie on stage and thought she really was a true inspiration. We truly hope Dame Kelly enjoyed being involved.”