British athlete Dame Kelly Holmes shares that she’s gay

Kelly Holmes

British Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes has shared that she’s gay, coming out at the age of 52.

Holmes won a bronze medal for the United Kingdom at the Sydney Olympics competing in the 800m running event. She went on to win gold at the Athens Olympics four years later winning both the 800m and the 1,5000m events.

She’s also won medals at three Commonwealth Games, the European Championships, the World Indoor Championships, and the World Championships.

Speaking to a British newspaper Holmes said she first realised she was gay when she was a 17-year-old soldier in the British army, and a female colleague kissed her. At the time service personnel who were discovered to be gay could face a court martial, leading to her keeping silent about her sexuality.

Holmes said she struggled with sharing information about her sexuality over the last 35 years, and it had lead to some dark times including breakdowns, suicidal thoughts and years of self-harm.

“There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay  – but I couldn’t,” Holmes told the newspaper.

The Covid-19 period with it’s long lock downs in Britain made the now 52-year-old look at life from a different perspective, and now she was happy to share the information about her sexuality on her own terms.

“I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement,” she said.

“Sometimes I cry with relief. The moment this comes out, I’m essentially getting rid of that fear.” Holes told Britain’s Sunday Mirror.

Holmes served in the British army for ten years before she had enough sponsorship to become a fulltime athlete. Since her retirement she has worked in television, the charity sector and served as the President of the Commonwealth Games England.

She was awarded an MBE in 1998 for her military service, and was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2005 for her services to athletics.

OIP Staff


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