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Last Updated: Monday, 23 August, 2004, 21:20 GMT 22:20 UK
Holmes sweet Holmes

By Steve Cram
BBC Sport in Athens

Kelly Holmes raises her arms in triumph
What a race - what a fantastic race!

Kelly Holmes produced the perfect 800m performance in the biggest race of her entire career.

The script was exactly as we expected - Jearl Miles-Clark leading them off at a crazy pace, and all the wise heads - Maria Mutola, Jolanda Ceplak and Holmes - at the back.

With 200m to go, Kelly tried to attack - and it was then that your mind went back to Sydney, when she did the same and ended up with just bronze.

It was also the moment I feared for Kelly's chances, because initially Mutola held her off.

I thought that if Kelly could just get past her, Mutola would crack.

That's why it was so important that Kelly got in front - and when she did, Mutola began to wilt in those last 10 metres.

Suddenly Ceplak and Hasna Benhassi were on Kelly's shoulder. But I don't take any notice of those who say, "Hey, they would have overtaken her had the race been five metres longer."

It's simple: the race wasn't five metres longer.

When I broke the 1500m world record in Nice in 1985, I would have been overtaken by Said Aouita had the line been three metres further on. But it wasn't.

Now Kelly has the chance to do something that Steve Ovett, Seb Coe and I couldn't manage
Kelly timed her charge to gold perfectly. You run your race and you judge it properly, and the line comes when it always does.

I can understand why she held back on the celebrations until she was absolutely certain she had won gold.

When you're running at that pace, eyes straight ahead, a few hundredths of a second is a matter of inches and you have no idea if you've broken the line first.

Panic grabs you and you don't want to let yourself believe until you're absolutely certain.

One of the reasons for Kelly's success was that she hasn't been training with Mutola for a while.

It can be very hard to beat someone you train with if they're always ahead of you in training, as we saw a few years ago with Ato Boldon and Maurice Greene.

It was interesting that Mutola didn't hang around afterwards to congratulate Kelly.

The pair are still friends, but Mutola stormed off afterwards.

Double gold?

Now Kelly has the chance to do something that Steve Ovett, Seb Coe and I couldn't manage - win the 800m and 1500m double at the same Olympics.

When she starts her heat on Tuesday evening she'll still be on a massive high.

The confidence will be flowing through her even more when she hears the stadium announcer introduce as the new Olympic 800m champion.

What she has to do is get through the heat. Then she's got a day off to recover and focus.

There are a lot of good athletes in the 1500m, not least the Russians.

But there is no-one who you would say is a nailed-down favourite for gold.

If it wasn't for fear of putting too much pressure on her, I'd say Kelly could do it again.





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