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.

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm actor was just 68
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
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

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices