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Last Updated: Sunday, 12 December, 2004, 22:14 GMT
Holmes takes top BBC Sport award
Kelly Holmes poses with her trophy
Kelly Holmes has won the 2004 Sports Personality of the Year award.

The honour capped a wonderful year for the athlete, who enjoyed a sensational six days at the Athens Olympics when she won gold in the 800m and 1500m.

The 34-year-old had to cope with numerous near-misses down the years before finally claiming her glorious golden double in the summer.

Holmes finished first in a public vote ahead of rower Matthew Pinsent and cricketer Andrew Flintoff.

"I've been more nervous tonight than I was for the 1500m final," Holmes said on picking up the award.

"I feel it's the biggest sporting honour your country can give you so I'd like to thank the public.

"The support I've had in the country has been overwhelming, so from the bottom of my heart thank you very much."

Holmes reserved special thanks for her family who helped her achieve her Olympic "dream".

"They've seen me struggle through a lifetime of trying, trying and trying to be the best I could be," she said.

"Finally after 20 years of dreaming, having seven out of nine years injured, I've got my dream - not once but twice.

"It's been an emotional roller-coaster. Winning erased the nights of crying my eyes out and the pain I've been going through.

"My family have seen me go through the struggle, and I'm really grateful to all of them."

She also reserved praise for three people who have had a huge bearing on her career on the track.

"My coach Dave Arnold has helped me through the ups and downs of my career since the age of 12.

"Wesley Duncan bought me back into sport in 1993 and my coach Margo Jennings has helped me reach the success I've had this year."

Holmes has been hindered by injury or illness at a host of major meetings, but in Athens it finally all fell into place.

She captured the 800m after fighting past former training partner Maria Mutola in an epic duel down the home straight.

And she followed that up with a tactical victory in the 1500m, working her way through the field on the last lap to become the first Briton for 84 years to achieve the Olympic middle-distance double.





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WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Double Olympic gold medalist Kelly Holmes



SEE ALSO
Holmes clinches brilliant gold
23 Aug 04 |  Athletics
Golden double for Holmes
28 Aug 04 |  Athletics


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