Speaking in an interview with Laureus.com, Holmes, who won the 800 and 1,500 metres gold medals in Athens in 2004, says: “I think everybody is really looking forward to the men’s 100 metres with Usain Bolt as the showcase event. Usain Bolt is head and shoulders above the rest.
“Providing he doesn’t false start, he’s injury free and healthy, I think he’ll blow the field away. But in the 200 metres he’s definitely got to watch out because Yohan Blake has run the second fastest time in the world. I think on his day he could give Bolt a run for his money.”
She also tips British stars Rebecca Adlington (800 metres freestyle swimming) and Chris Hoy (cycling) for Olympic glory.
Holmes adds: “The great thing about the Olympic Games is that new stars are born, people that you know are not in the public eye right now. So there will be brand new people that even I probably would never have thought would step up to the plate.”
In the interview - available for media use - Kelly Holmes looks back on her Athens double triumph, which led to her winning the 2005 Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year Award, and reflects on the benefits which the Olympic Games will bring to London.
She says: “You know Athens in 2004 obviously for me was the pinnacle of my sporting career. I achieved my dream finally after 20 years. Athens changed my life….everything that I’d ever worked for became worthwhile, every kind of moment that I pushed my body to the extreme, every tear that I cried, you know it was all worth it after I won my medals.”
On the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London, she says: “What is fantastic about the Games coming to London and Britain is we have taken an area of real deprivation and regenerated it to give people in that community a real feeling of aspiration and importance almost. You know this was an area that was just completely unused and now it’s going to be the focal point for the world.
“I’ve always been really passionate about helping young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to fulfil their ambition and have opportunity and chances in life. As a Laureus Ambassador, I’ve been with Laureus to South Africa and you go into a township and the hope that you bring to those young people who get that opportunity for change is remarkable.
“Because of that, I have set up the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. We work predominantly in the UK. We work in communities with disadvantaged young people. We use ex-world champions, Olympians as role models and mentors and they run all of our programmes, so the actual inspiration comes from somebody that’s achieved at the highest level.”
Kelly Holmes is one of the Ambassadors for Team GB [Great Britain] and for Games sponsors British Telecom. Plus, through her Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust, she has been helping the London Games organisers to run the Young Leaders Programme over the last two years, which is a personal development programme to help the youngsters aspire to be something in their own lives. Their reward is to be an Olympic Games volunteer.