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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 August, 2004, 21:03 GMT 22:03 UK
Holmes 'stunned' by success
By Andrew Fraser
BBC Sport in Athens

Kelly Holmes has admitted the pressure of going for a golden double was almost unbearable, after accomplishing an Olympic feat which, just a week ago, was beyond her wildest dreams.

Holmes was so exhausted from the effort of adding the 1500m crown to her 800m title that she had to have treatment from a doctor before she could do any post-race interviews.

The last and only time a Briton achieved the middle-distance double was when Albert Hill triumphed in Antwerp 84 years ago.

And Holmes revealed that the shock of winning a surprise first gold medal on Monday had made it almost impossible to summon up the will to complete the second stage of her mission.

"It feels like I'm going to wake up in the morning and have to do it all over again," said Holmes.

"The hardest thing was focusing on the race and pretending that I hadn't already won one.

"I have been looking at the gold medal every day and tears have been filling my eyes.

"I was thinking 'oh my god, I've already got one gold medal and I just want this over and done with'.

If you had told me I had to run that time to win a medal I wouldn't have turned up
Kelly Holmes
"I just wanted to celebrate but I'd focused so much on getting another one."

Holmes brought the crowd in the Olympic stadium to its feet with a superb late surge to take gold in a new British record time of three minutes 57.9 seconds.

It was the perfect payback for the fans who had turned up the night before to see Paula Radcliffe fail in her attempt to salvage her Olympic dream in the 10,000m.

And Holmes choked back the tears as she stood on the top of the podium for the second time in six days, one Union Jack wrapped around her shoulders and another wrapped round her waist.

In the space of a week, she had gone from talented but injury-jinxed middle distance runner to track legend.

Holmes grabbed her first gold in the 800m on Monday
Holmes grabbed her first gold in the 800m on Monday
"If you had told me I had to run that time to win a medal I wouldn't have turned up," she said.

"The 1500m has been a psychological barrier for me. I knew I was stronger than I've ever been, but it's what goes on in your head that counts.

"I knew when I won the 800m that I had to be as confident as possible and that this would be my only chance to do what I have done."

Holmes admitted she was stunned that her name would now go down alongside other British greats like Sebastian Coe, Steve Ovett and Steve Cram.

"Sebastian Coe was my idol for years," said Holmes, who received her 800m gold from Lord Coe on Monday.

"I always remember seeing him win Olympic silver in the 800m and then coming back to win the 1500m.

"He was an inspiration when I was younger and to be mentioned in the same breath as him is unbelievable.

I don't think I'm coming to terms with it at the moment
Kelly Holmes
"I don't think I'm coming to terms with it at the moment."

As Holmes struggled to take it all in, her night got even better.

Glancing over at the television in the press conference room, she saw that Britain's sprinters had won a shock gold in the 4x100m relay.

A huge smile broke out across her face.

After so many years of hurt, things have finally come good for Kelly Holmes.





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