The Olympics: 2004: Athletics: Kelly Ready to Become Legend; Place in History Beckons for Holmes as She Prepares to Attempt Middle-Distance Double

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), August 27, 2004 | Go to article overview

The Olympics: 2004: Athletics: Kelly Ready to Become Legend; Place in History Beckons for Holmes as She Prepares to Attempt Middle-Distance Double


Byline: JAMES TONEY

START to believe it -- the double is on for the new golden girl of British athletics.

Kelly Holmes cruised into Saturday's 1500m final with a classy and economical performance that underlined her new-found status last night.

Cancel all plans for Saturday -- any big night out should become a big night in with Holmes' bid at a historic double the only thing you should raise a glass to.

In the heyday of British middle distance running the country would stop to watch Coe, Ovett and Cram go head to head in races from Amsterdam to Zurich. And so it will be again.

Holmes is the second fastest qualifier, finishing second in her semi-final behind Russia's Natalya Yevdokimova in a time of 4. 04. 77.

In what is quickly becoming a trademark, she kept her own company at the back of the field until the beginning of the final lap. She then moved through her rivals down the back straight before kicking for home off the final bend.

She appeared to be easing up on the line but her time was only a second slower than her season's best.

``I'm not thinking about another gold -- it's too bizarre, '' she said. ``I've given up trying to predict what is going to happen after the 800m. But once you are in the final then you're obviously looking for a medal.

``I finished seventh in the two last Olympic 1500m, so any improvement on that would be good. I'm just not getting carried away.

``The final is going to be a very hardrace, they all know I can kick down the straight now so they'll take the pace out hard.

``It was a tough run for a semi-final and I could have settled for fifth place but I wanted to make sure no-one would overtake me.

``I'm only thinking about one race at time -- I guess now that will be the final. '' Meanwhile, Wales' Hayley Tullett was left to reflect on the difference a year makes as her miserable Games came to an end in the other 1500m semi-final.

Twelve months ago she stunned herself by claiming bronze at the World Championship in Paris but that form never resurfaced in Greece.

She scraped into the semi-finals by the slenderest of margins and could only finish 11th, her time of 4. 08. 92 over five seconds slower than her season's best.

She refused to answer questions about her sudden and untimely dip in form but at 31, Tullett has already admitted to looking at life away from the track.

Chris Tomlinson was upbeat for the future after a solid but not sensational performance in the long jump final. …

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