After a career dogged by injuries and disappointments, Britain’s Kelly Holmes won the 800 metres and 1,500 metres Olympic gold medals in Athens in 2004, a feat only ever achieved by two women before. Even more amazingly, Kelly was 34 and the oldest woman in the field in Athens.
Her double success was acknowledged as one of the greatest achievements in Olympic history. Holmes is also the only athlete ever to reach the 800 metres and 1,500 metres Olympic finals three times.
In the 800 metres she beat the once-invincible defending champion Maria Mutola into fourth place. Her run was voted IAAF Female Performance of the Year.
Athens was an amazing success for Holmes who had suffered an agonising series of near-misses in her career. She was squeezed out of the medals with fourth place in the 800 metres at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics after suffering a stress fracture.
Injury also ruined her bid for the 1997 World Championship 1,500 metres, and many wondered if her best chance of a global title had gone as bronze in the 800 metres in the Sydney Olympics was followed by silver in the same event in the 2003 World Championships.
"I could have given up. I had depression, everything. But I felt in my heart one day it might happen. This is my life, what I have dreamed of forever,” said Holmes.