Dame Kelly Holmes is one of Britain’s most famous athletes. She won two gold medals in the Olympics in Athens in 2004. Here she talks about the setbacks she suffered when she was running and how everyone can succeed if they stay positive.


Task 1 - vocabulary

In this activity you will learn some vocabulary to help you to understand the film.  

Task 2 - put sentences in order


Well I’m Kelly Holmes and I’ve also got a title called Dame.  I won 2 gold medals at the Athens Olympics.  I think in life everybody gets knockbacks and through my athletics career I had so many knockbacks.  I mean I had times when I was favourite in the world to win World Championships, Olympics, whatever it may be, and I had an injury.  There’s nothing more demoralising and depress(ing) that that and I remember reading a Japanese proverb that said, ‘Get knocked down seven times stand up eight’ and for me I had seven years of injury problems but on the eighth year was the first year I had no injury problems and that was 2004 when I won my two gold medals.  (Kelly was made a Dame in 2005 when she retired from athletics).  

Being an athlete and then retiring from athletics I’ve had to learn new roles.  I’m in completely different job situations than I’ve ever been in my life.  (Kelly now runs DKH Legacy Trust, a charity inspiring young people’s lives through sport).  And you could think to yourself ‘Oh my gosh that’s scary and I don’t know anything about it but sometimes you just have to put yourself in, to that environment and situation and then you learn on the job.  (So Kelly has gone from running races to running a charity).  You know I always say, ‘Never be afraid to go for something even if you think you haven’t got the qualifications that fit that job.’ You might just have every other attribute that that person’s looking for.  

In life barriers are only there, what you put in there from your head, most of the time, because you see yourself not being a fortunate person, to have the openings that maybe others had, I mean, you know, I came from a council estate, broken family and everything, but for me it was about who do I want to be as a person, how proud do I want to be about who I am and actually the progression that I made.  Everything that I do I just think, gosh, my God, I done it, you know.

Looking after your health, keeping in shape, is something that people maybe tend to neglect, but actually that’s something that can keep you kind of fired up a little bit .  If you feel good in yourself and in your body, you’ll probably feel better in your mind as well.  I think if somebody was coming for a job with me they’d have to be quite sporty, and motivated, goal driven, want to progress themselves, smiles a lot and can have a good time with a team. (They) have to be able to work with a team well and communicate in all levels.


  • What do you think about Kelly’s story?
  • Do you know anyone who had a lot of setbacks or problems in his or her life but was very successful in some way?
  • What barriers have you faced in your life? How have you overcome them?
  • Is there a person who has inspired you?

Write and tell us about someone who inspired you, or about how you have overcome barriers in your life.