Gold seals Kelly's split with partner

Kelly Holmes woke up yesterday - if she slept at all - the country's new heroine, all of us still high on her fantastic gold medal run, the British team in Athens given a huge lift by her performance. Maria Mutola, her great rival and one-time training partner, certainly won't be feeling the same, having finished fourth in the 800 metres in which Holmes won gold on Monday.

Kelly Holmes woke up yesterday - if she slept at all - the country's new heroine, all of us still high on her fantastic gold medal run, the British team in Athens given a huge lift by her performance. Maria Mutola, her great rival and one-time training partner, certainly won't be feeling the same, having finished fourth in the 800 metres in which Holmes won gold on Monday.

Kelly and Maria trained together for a while, but it wasn't one of athletics' great long-term partnerships. There is no doubt they have great respect for each other as athletes, and they were good friends for a while. We all believe Maria protected Kelly in last year's Paris World Championships 800m race, guiding her to claim silver behind Maria. Earlier this year, they stopped training together. Why, we don't know, and Kelly hasn't told me, but I sense something happened between them and they are not necessarily great friends now.

On the track, nobody is a friend - even Justin Gatlin and Shawn Crawford, the two US sprinters who remind me of myself and the Canadian sprint hurdler Mark McKoy, who are long-term training partners and genuine buddies. In the final in Barcelona in 1992, Mark won gold and I crashed. In the 100m sprint final on Sunday, Justin came through for gold and iced Shawn, who came fourth.

Shawn, though, was there to congratulate him, and could be pleased, knowing they both competed to their ultimate. In Barcelona, I was distraught at my performance, but Mark's gold showed me all our preparations had been right, and I could be genuinely happy for him.

Maria, however, didn't go to congratulate Kelly, although she said afterwards that Kelly deserved to win. Maria, the defending champion, had her own emotions to deal with after losing that desperate struggle, but it was still surprising she had nothing to say to Kelly on the track after the race.

With those titans clashing, the world hasn't concentrated too much on the runners coming in second, the Moroccan Hasna Benhassi, and third, the Slovenian Jolanda Ceplak. But in Slovenia they've had eyes for little else.

Jolanda, a good friend of mine whom I tipped to win, as she did in the 2002 European Championships when Kelly came third, will also return home to a heroine's welcome. She told me after Monday's race that coming off the bend she thought her legs were gone and knew she couldn't catch Kelly or Maria. Then, from somewhere, her strength came back and she finished tremendously; another five metres and Jolanda would have won.

In Slovenia, they won't quibble; hers is a new, post-Yugoslavia, beautiful country of only three and a half million people, where she is a huge sports icon. People there are overjoyed with Yolanda's performance and were so proud to see her blonde head bobbing round the track, a Slovenian flag on her shoulders. We're all delighted for Kelly, but being third best in the world is a great feat too, and in Slovenia right now, bronze is golden.

Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
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.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence