Olympic athlete Kelly Holmes comes out in emotional interview

The two-time Olympic gold medalist shares the challenges of living in fear of her sexuality.

Image of Olympian Kelly Holmes running with England flag behind her.
Image: AFP

British gold medalist Kelly Holmes has revealed she is gay, sharing her personal story including details of the ‘fearful world’ she was living during an interview with The Daily Mirror.

For the majority of her life, Holmes revealed, she only shared her sexuality with close friends and family members as she was worried about how it would affect her athletic career and involvement in the army. She first realized she was lesbian after kissing a female soldier while serving in 1988.

Speaking about her coming out journey, the Olympic athlete said: “There have been lots of dark times where I wished I could scream that I am gay – but I couldn’t.

“The reason I didn’t want it to come out was that I didn’t really know people in sport that were gay. The ban in the army had only been lifted four years before and I had never asked anyone if there was any sort of retribution if I said something. I was still absolutely petrified,” Holmes said.

Despite having previous relationships with other women, she wanted to keep her love life private. She constantly worried that her ‘secret’ would be revealed when these relationships ended. Holmes also struggled with her mental health during this time which greatly impacted her emotional well-being.

During the interview, she smiled while sharing small details about her current relationship status.

“It’s the first time I’ve had someone who I don’t introduce as a PA or friend,” she said.

Following her coming out story, Holmes’ journey will continue with her documentary Being Me. The emotional story will air on ITV on June 26 at 9 pm.

Recently, an increasing number of public figures are coming out, sharing their experience in the hopes of helping others who might be struggling with their sexualities or identities. Many like Holmes share that they lived with a fear of coming out as they grew up surrounded by homophobia and strict legislation.

Just last week, baseball legend Maybelle Blair came out as gay at the age of 95. She shared the difficulties of hiding her true identity for her family and felt as though something was wrong with her.

Despite the challenges Holmes experienced while growing up she had sports as her ‘savior’.  “I needed to do this now, for me. It was my decision. I’m nervous about saying it. I feel like I’m going to explode with excitement,” she said.

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