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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Developer (TSQL, SSRS, SSAS) Fund Manager - London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: SQL Developer (TSQL, S...

Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, Angular.JS)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Software Developer (JavaScript, TDD, Jasmine, An...

Front-End UI/UX Developer (HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, Ang

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End UI/U...

C#.NET Server Side Developer (C#, XML, WCF, Unit Testing,SQL)

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C#.NET ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition