My Secret Life: Kelly Holmes, athlete, 40

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The Independent Online

My parents were... My mum and my stepdad took me to my cross-country races all the time. They didn't really get involved, they weren't pushy parents, but they were happy to take me.

The house/flat I grew up in... was on a council estate in Kent, semi-detached, red brick, red door.

When I was a child I wanted to... I've known what I wanted to do since I was 14: I wanted to join the army, and to be an Olympic champion. I've managed both.

You wouldn't know it but I am very good at... driving trucks. I have a heavy goods vehicle licence.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... swimming – I hate it with a passion. I don't like water and I don't like getting cold.

At night I dream of... bizarrely, all the things I've been doing or plan to do. My first mentoring programme came from a dream I had, that I could help people. I woke up, wrote it down, and my DKH Legacy Trust has been going seven years now.

What I see when I look in the mirror... Some mornings, I see too many wrinkles. And dark circles under my eyes, from a lack of sleep – I'm always on the go.

I wish I'd never worn... Oh dear: paisley shirts. I used to wear them with Kickers and long dungarees, when I was in the army when I was about 19. They were quite trendy then, but I'm not sure it was good look, putting it all together!

I drive... a Jaguar XKR. Also a Land Rover and my quad bike.

My favourite item of clothing... My Ugg boots from America, they're a cross between a welly and an Ugg boot. They've been my favourite this winter, clearly, because it's been freezing.

My house is... big – it's got five bedrooms, quite a bit of land and some outbuildings. It used to be a working farm; now it's got a gym and a cinema.

My favourite building... I went to New York recently; I like the Empire State Building. I like any iconic place that signifies a country; it's cool, when you know a country by one building, like the Eiffel Tower.

My secret crush is... Jonah Lomu, who I was on Famous and Fearless with. He's like a gentle giant.

Movie heaven... I love Morgan Freeman, he's so cool. I love Shawshank Redemption – I've watched that about 30 times. I like sitting with the popcorn and sweets and just slobbing out, it's great.

A book that changed me... I'm not a great reader. Never have been. But I like reading about life stories or entrepreneurs that have started from scratch and made something of themselves – I like thebooks of the Dragons' Den guys. It's more books that I can gain inspiration from than fiction.

My real-life villain... the tax man: I hate him!

The person who really makes me laugh... All the funny men on telly. Graham Norton, Alan Carr, Paul Merton: they'd be my ideal dinner guests, people that are going to camp it up and make it fun.

The last time I cried... When I hurt my knee falling off a motorbike at speed. That made me cry just a little, with pain.

My five-year plan... To get all my licences. I am a petrol head – I want to get my motorsports and motorbike licences.

My life in six words... Manic, focused, random, fun and exciting.

A life in brief

Dame Kelly Holmes was born in Kent in 1970. She served as a sergeant in the army before devoting herself to athletics full-time in 1997. In 2004, she won gold medals for the 800m and 1500m races at the Olympic Games in Athens, and was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year. She retired from athletics in 2005 and was made a Dame. She is Commonwealth Games England president and an adviser for the 2012 Olympics. Her book, Just Go For It! Six Simple Steps to Achieve Success is published by Hay House