Kelly Holmes Interview

My perfect weekend starts with nothing in the diary. My week takes me all over the country, living out of a bag, waking up every day in a different hotel, so it’s nice to come home to Kent and be near family and friends. I do love my work – mentoring young athletes, speaking at functions and ceremonies, working with the government on sports policy – but sometimes I just want to replenish.


kellyholmesOn Saturday morning, I’ll allow myself to wake up late; eight o’clock is a lie-in for me. These days I don’t do much fitness in the week, so I’ll go to the gym or play squash first thing. Then it’s my favourite treat: shopping.


I love shops, specifically clothes shops, so I’ll meet friends at Bluewater shopping centre. My best friends are people that I’ve known 15 years plus: school friends and ex-army friends, and I count my family as friends too. They’re the people that I trust, people that have supported me when I’ve been down.


We’ll have fun going round all the shops. I don’t have any favourites, so it’ll be whatever I find anywhere, from Primark to Jaeger. There’ always something I need, but bags, belts and shoes are my favourite. The best thing I bought recently was a nice fitted suit. Since I’ve stopped running around in a tracksuit the whole time and started grown-up work – things like sitting with the Prime Minister – I have to pretend I’m quite smart.


For lunch my friends and I will go to Yo Sushi and share a load of dishes, which feels quite healthy, especially knowing I’m going to have a complete pig-out later.


After lunch, it’s more shopping. I get recognised a lot. People have all different reactions. They hoot at me from cars, shout down the road, or come up and say it’s great what I’ve done. Some people just stare, then walk into things. It’s never a problem to meet people. It doesn’t take five seconds for a photo or an autograph.


Saturday night, I let my hair down. I’ve got a cinema at home with six proper armchairs, six beanbags and a popcorn maker, so I’ll get friends round to mine and we’ll order a massive Chinese. It’s great to sit back, watch a film and eat junk. My favourite film is the Shawshank Redemption – I love Morgan Freeman – but I love all sorts of movies. I also love the X Factor. It’s light-hearted, which is great after a week of manic running around. I like to see the people progress, and the sob stories make me cry.


After the film, we always stay up really late. I don’t really drink though, I’m only a champagne drinker and that’s too expensive just for home.


On Sunday morning I’ll probably go training again. I prefer the gym, away from the cold and wet that I used to have to run in, but if it’s nice I might stay at home and do my gardening. I’ve got a big vegetable plot.


I did go running with some marathon running neighbours the other Sunday. It was about 14 miles. I’d never run that far in my life. I nearly died. I got home, got in the bath, slept for about two and a half hours, and couldn’t walk for the rest of the day! My body’s changed quite a bit since I was an Olympic athlete….


For Sunday lunch I’ll see my family – my Mum, my step Dad, my brothers, my sister and her baby twins. I might ask them round and attempt a roast – anything but lamb. I detest lamb with a passion. I’ve got sheep in
the field next to the house, and I find them as unappealing in real life.

So normally it’s chicken – you can’t go wrong with that. We’ll catch up on my bizarre week. I might have been to Birmingham, Bath, Blackpool, Bristol, London and Norfolk, and they’re like: ”Right! What were you doing in all those places?” It’s funny telling people who’ve known me so long about my completely new life, but they absolutely don’t treat me any differently.


Sunday Evening is all about pampering. I’ll have a nice big foamy bath, put on a face mask and pray that no one knocks on the door. If they do, I’m not in. I’ll spend an hour soaking, sometimes just lying there with the lights off and little tea light candles, but mostly reading celebrity and car magazines.


I’ll have probably pigged out too much for a big supper, so I’ll pretend I’m healthy by having a salad or a sandwich, then catch up on emails, and pack for the week ahead.


My perfect weekend might not sound exciting, but after a week of excitements it’s perfect for me.


Kelly Holmes is a mentor for Team B&Q’s aspiring Olympians programme