Tokyo Olympics: Leeds Beckett student Keely Hodgkinson makes British track history

Emotional Keely Hodgkinson insists she is ready for the spotlight and knows her stunning 800 metres Olympic silver medal will change her life.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 4:50 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd August 2021, 5:02 pm
Keely Hodgkinson, of Britain, reacts after her second place finish in the final of the women's 800m at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

The 19-year-old clocked one minute 55.88 seconds to smash Kelly Holmes’ 26-year-old British record and finish behind Athing Mu of the USA in Tokyo.

Holmes’ mark of 1.56.21 minutes had stood since 1995 and Hodgkinson became the first British medal winner in the event since Holmes took gold in 2004.

Hodgkinson, studying criminology at Leeds Beckett University, has gone from virtually unknown at the start of the year to the podium in Tokyo.

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Keely Hodgkinson, of Britain celebrates winning the silver in the final of the women's 800m at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Hodgkinson is not on funding but knows her heroics in Japan will thrust her into the big time.

“I’m ready, that’s what I’ve dreamed of. I want to do this. I want to be one of the best in the world. I’m going to do everything I can to be that,” said Hodgkinson, after winning Team GB’s first athletics medal of the Games. “I’m just going to keep on doing what I’m doing. Don’t fix something if it’s not broken. What I’ve been doing the last year has got me to this point.

“I’m going to carry on doing it. If you don’t enjoy it everything becomes pressurised and hard work. As long as I keep doing what I’m doing and stay injury free, hopefully there will be many more moments like this.

“In the past two years the support around me has brought me on, kept me relaxed and I have taken every aspect of this experience with me. I just wanted to go on this track and execute. This is what I want to do, be one of the best in the world.

“I am speechless right now. Kelly is a massive legend of the sport and always be with that double Olympic gold.

“She seems so lovely and has been sending me messages the last few days being very supportive. I am quite in shock about that time, but I couldn’t be happier.”