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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 August, 2004, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK
Packer hails Holmes win
Kelly Holmes
Former 800m Olympic gold medallist Ann Packer has praised Kelly Holmes for her impressive victory in Athens.

Packer was one of millions who watched Holmes clinch the Athens title in sensational style on Monday night.

"It was brilliant, she did so well - I'm delighted for her," said Packer, who was the last British woman to win the crown before Holmes in 1964.

"She just judged it brilliantly and she must take a lot of credit for that - if you get it that right, you deserve it."

Holmes's triumph made her only the seventh female track and field athlete to claim gold for Britain at the Olympics.

You've lifted the country - we're all very proud of you
Ann Packer to Kelly Holmes
The list includes Denise Lewis, Sally Gunnell, Tessa Sanderson, Mary Peters, Mary Rand and, of course, Packer.

The most unlikely gold medallist of all, Packer had only run the 800m five times in competition before heading to the 1964 Games in Tokyo, where she sliced four seconds off her personal best to land the gold medal.

But the former champion was more than happy to welcome Holmes into Britain's 'magificent seven'.

Speaking directly to her on BBC One, Packer told Holmes: "You've lifted the country.

"You couldn't have asked more of yourself physically and tactically - we're all very proud of you."

Holmes, who is aiming for a historic second gold when the 1500m heats get under way on Tuesday, was letting the victory sink in a day later.

BRITAIN'S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
Ann Packer in 1964
Kelly Holmes (800m)
Athens 2004
Denise Lewis (Heptathlon)
Sydney 2000
Sally Gunnell (400m hurdles)
Barcelona 1992
Tessa Sanderson (Javelin)
Los Angeles 1984
Mary Peters (Pentathlon)
Munich 1972
Ann Packer (800m)
Tokyo 1964
Mary Rand (Long jump)
Tokyo 1964
She told BBC Sport: "My mum has been inundated with phone calls. It is amazing. So many people know what I have been through trying to achieve my dreams.

"To actually win the Olympic title at this stage of my career - I can't ask for any more."

Holmes has struggled with injury throughout her career and she only decided to do the 800m, as well as the 1500m, because she feared she would regret not doubling up.

She said: "I've been training for the 1500m and that was my focus for the season but I knew I was strong after a few 800s.

"I had 10 days of solid training at the holding camp in Cyprus and it gave me the confidence to know I was strong enough.

"I did a session that was just for the 800m and that made my mind up. It gave me the confidence I could get a medal.

"I felt there would be too many risks either way. If I do just the 1500 will I regret not doing the 800 and if I do just the 800 will I regret not doing the 1500?

"Dreams don't always become reality but finally everything went right for me."





Links to more Athletics stories


 

SEE ALSO
Holmes hunts golden double
24 Aug 04  |  Athletics
Rider's legends: Ann Packer
26 Sep 00  |  SOL


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