Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Friday, 1 July 2011 11:21 UK

School Report: Abbot's Hill School welcomes Dame Kelly Holmes

Dame Kelly Holmes with School Reporters Elizabeth and Olivia (Credit: Julia Burley)
Dame Kelly Holmes with Abbot's Hill School Reporters Elizabeth and Olivia (Credit: Julia Burley)

by Elizabeth and Olivia
School Reporters from Abbot's Hill School, Hertfordshire

On 29th June, Abbot's Hill School was fortunate enough to have a visit from the Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes.

After several months of eventful fundraising our efforts had paid off as we handed over a cheque of more than £6,000 to Dame Kelly's charity, the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.

After watching the infants from our school participate in various sporting activities, Dame Kelly watched girls from the senior school and a few very willing staff volunteers take part in a relay race.

As the two athletics captains from Baird House, we were invited to interview Dame Kelly to get a better insight into the mindset of an elite athlete.

Firstly, we enquired about the main purpose of the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, which she said was "to create life chances for children". She said it is unique because it is run by elite sports players, such as ex-Olympic champions, who work in the community.

Another question we asked was concerning her role as a mentor. She said that her job is to "support and guide" Team GB as she too had to deal with the pressure and stress of competing at this advanced level.

We also discovered that over 70% of the Team GB for 2012 were first-time Olympic athletes, which doubles the anticipation.

Ticket talk

We were keen to seek Dame Kelly's view about a current key concern of the British public - Olympic tickets. Getting a chance to see the great events has been hard and we, along with many others, have been turned down.

Dame Kelly was very understanding about the situation yet said that she thought it was the best way to allocate these tickets due to the high demand worldwide. She emphasised how the atmosphere in "every country, region, town and city will still be amazing".

When we discovered the history of Kelly Holmes' sporting career, we were intrigued to find that she had two main dreams, firstly to become an Olympic Champion and secondly to become a physical instructor in the army.

Kelly Holmes won gold in the 800m and 1500m in the 2004 Olympic Games
Kelly Holmes won gold in the 800m and 1500m in the 2004 Olympic Games.

Dame Kelly revealed to us that after a very successful teenage athletic career - having won the English school's championship several times between 12 and 17-years-old - she decided not to pursue her natural abilities and joined the army.

After serving in the army for seven years, her manager noticed her star potential and encouraged her to return to training and achieve her original dream.

We asked Dame Kelly whether she held any other interests in other events apart from running. Her response was, yes she did try other events however she knew her talent and ability lay in running.

Importance of failure

She said, "Talent isn't everything. You have to enjoy what you do otherwise you're not going to stick at it". We thought that was pretty good advice for life, not just for sport.

What really inspired us was when she said "What makes somebody successful is getting through the disappointment. If you feel disappointment it means you want something more".

Finally, as it was a particularly relevant question to us as athletics captains, we asked how she coped with the many injuries she had sustained in her athletic career: "The key is that when you're injured, not to think you can't train" she told us.

Kelly Holmes unveils name plaque for the school's sports hall.
Kelly Holmes unveiled the name plaque for the school's new sports hall

After our brief and productive interview Dame Kelly was invited into our newly built sports hall where she listened to the beautiful voices of Abbot's Hill School and gave a magnificent speech on the topic of her life and charity.

Dame Kelly was very thankful to Abbot's Hill School for all of our hard work and willingly unveiled the plaque officially naming the Dame Kelly Holmes Sp

orts Hall.

After receiving her cheque from the two Head Girls of St Nicholas House and the two Baird House athletics captains, she left the school on a high note and leaving behind some very inspired students.

Dame Kelly is a brilliant role model, athlete and public figure. Abbot's Hill School thanks her very much for sharing her time and passions with us.

Holmes to become Team GB mentor
24 Mar 11 |  School Report

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