Athletics: Holmes loses with smile as cruise control misfires

Something unusual happened in the Olympic Stadium here yesterday - Kelly Holmes lost a race and broke into a radiant smile. But then you can do that kind of thing when you are a double Olympic champion.

Something unusual happened in the Olympic Stadium here yesterday - Kelly Holmes lost a race and broke into a radiant smile. But then you can do that kind of thing when you are a double Olympic champion.

It was not that the 34-year-old lacked for effort in her first race since her 800 and 1500 metres double in Athens. That is contrary to her nature.

But as Tatyana Tomashova - silver medallist behind her in last month's metric mile - regained the lead 30m from the line in the concluding IAAF Golden League meeting of the season, Holmes could not find the drive that had propelled her in Athens, finishing eight hundredths of a second behind the Russian in 4min 04.49sec.

"If I'd come last, it would have been 'Oh God'," Holmes said. "I tried hard, but I probably didn't have the desire at the finish that Tomashova did. I have been training, but the preparation hasn't been fantastic for an international athlete, what with all the late nights and driving around since I got back."

Holmes was asked recently, while visiting her old school, what she had given up to succeed. "My life," she said. "Being an international athlete is difficult. It's not a glamorous life." The former Army sergeant may be no closer to getting her life back, but there is a new-found glamour in her daily routine.

For the most successful British woman athlete in Olympic history, there has been a predictable whirl of parties, visits and endorsements, including an appearance on Michael Parkinson's chat show, where she was solemnly described as an "inspiration" by a small American called Tom Cruise, who has had some success in the movie business.

Cruise even asked her to attend his latest film première, but she had to turn him down. "I only had about five minutes to spare and I had nothing to wear," she explained yesterday.

Never mind. She's got the Saturday Children's TV version of Top of The Pops next weekend, and a midweek appearance on the ITV chat show Loose Women.

How long she will remain in that state is unclear, although she hinted at it here. "I've got a chance to enjoy my running for another year or so after struggling around the circuit for so many seasons," she said.

Holmes' return to competition took place on a vivid blue track at the centre of a deep bowl of an arena that has gained a roof and a major revamp ahead of the football World Cup finals that take place here in 2006.

Had she needed any reminder of her achievement last month, she had only to look over to the open end of the stadium behind the final bend, where the Olympic flame first lit to open the 1936 Games flickered and guttered in its broad bowl.

Her performance was witnessed by a crowd of 60,155 - mighty by athletics standards, although 20,000 short of the number who thronged the streets of Tonbridge, in Kent, to welcome her home from Greece as she made a bus-top tour.

"I will never, ever better what I've done in Athens," she said. "At the end of the day, this doesn't matter."

Such was not the case, however, for Sweden's Christian Olsson and Tonique Williams-Darling of the Bahamas, who ensured equal shares of the $1m (£569,000) jackpot on offer to athletes unbeaten in their events at all six Golden League meetings. Williams-Darling won the 400m in 49.07sec, and Olsson took the triple jump with an effort of 17.45 metres.

"I'm a very greedy person," Olsson joked. "But I've never had half a million dollars before and I will be happy with that."

Holmes' financial gains from the meeting were of a far lower order - probably in the region of $50,000 (£27,800) - but as her face, smoothed with happiness, continues to show the world, she has already earned riches beyond measure.

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

Software Developer

£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album