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2004: Second gold for Kelly Holmes

British athlete Kelly Holmes has secured a place in Olympic history by winning the 1500m gold in Athens.

The runner won the 800m on Monday and is the first Briton in 84 years to achieve the Olympic middle-distance double.

Holmes set a new British record for the race with a time of 3 minutes 57.90 seconds, finishing three metres ahead of Russian rival Tatyana Tomashova.

Third place in the 1500m was taken by Romania's Maria Cioncin.

Holmes said after the race: "I can't believe it - I'm gobsmacked.

"After the 800m I had a lot of confidence and I was feeling good going through the rounds, but these girls are really good and I had to focus more than ever in that race."


"Tonight was her night and she was just amazing"

Pam Thomson, Holmes' mother

The athlete - who was 100-1 to do the double before the 2004 Olympics began - continued with her tactic of hanging back in the field until the closing stages of the race.

At the start of the final lap she was eighth out of 12, but moved to third place with 150m to go.

In the final straight Holmes even had time to look over her shoulder to check where her nearest rivals were. She smiled and raised her arms in triumph as she crossed the line.

The Olympic double at 800m and 1500m eluded Steve Ovett, Sebastian Coe and Steve Cram. The only other British athlete to achieve the feat is Albert Hill, in Antwerp in 1920.

Holmes' mother, Pam Thomson, told reporters she was overjoyed at her daughter's second gold.

"Words are simply not enough at a time like this," she said.

"Kelly has had a lot of downs in her career and has always thought that something will go wrong when she's at the top.

"But tonight was her night and she was just amazing."

In Context
Kelly Holmes was born in Kent in 1970.

She joined Tonbridge Athletics Club at the age of 12 and won the national schools' 1500 metres in only her second season of running.

Holmes began competing at an international level in 1992 while she was in the army. She became a full-time athlete in 1997.

Her early career was dogged by injury trouble - in 1996 she suffered a stress fracture and she ruptured an Achilles tendon in 1997. The Athens Olympics was almost the first major competition Holmes had started without injury problems.

Since her triumph at the 2004 Olympics she has won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year and in May 2005 was crowned Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year in Portugal.


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