Dame Kelly Holmes inspires pupils on visit to Leeds school

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Olympic golden girl Dame Kelly Holmes has already achieved her goals but now wants youngsters in Leeds to chase their dreams.

With the 2012 London Olympics just around the corner, the double-gold medallist spoke to 260 pupils at Roundhay School about her experience of the event.

The retired athlete also brought her two gold medals along for pupils to pass around.

Dame Kelly, 41, said: “I came here because it’s a great opportunity to talk to a diverse group of kids.

“A lot of people see the Olympic athletes but don’t know the story behind them.

“It’s all about determination. You’ve got to give it a go and don’t give up until you cross that finish line.”

She added: “It’s really great to be here and I hope that they get some inspiration from today.”

The sports star spoke to the packed-out hall about how she left athletics to become a heavy goods vehicle driver in the army at the age of 18.

She then returned to the sport in 1992 and went on to win two gold medals in the 2004 Olympics in Athens for the 800m and 1,500m events, aged 34.

She was also named BBC Sports Personality of the Year the same year.

Football enthusiast and keen basketball player Stuart Forrester, 17, said: “I feel proud to have her in my school.

“She is a top athlete and one of the most inspirational people I’ve met.”

Millie Sanders, 12, said: “It’s really exciting to have Kelly here. She’s been really inspirational.”

Roundhay School headteacher Neil Clephan said: “This is a brilliant way of bringing the London Olympics to the North – it’s important that we don’t let the event pass us by.

“Kelly is a hero of mine and is an incredible person.

“We hope this will inspire and motivate the kids in whatever they choose to do in the future.”

Gledhow Primary School and Talbot Primary School pupils also attended the talk.

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