Olympic gold medallist and motivational speaker, Kelly Holmes has recently spoken about the difficulties of retiring from being a professional athlete.
Five years ago Kelly set up the Holmes Legacy Trust to help those retiring from sports, which they have devoted their lives to. She stated that “they can lose their identity-it happened to me. It’s easy to tell someone ‘I’m an Olympian’...but you retire and it becomes ‘former this’ or ‘I used to do that.’”
Kelly compares retiring from a career in sport to being ex-army and how people struggle to come to terms with no longer having a goal, making them feel lost. Not every athlete is lucky enough to have a successful media career when they retire and the ones that do not worry about what they will do next. The aim of Kelly’s charity is to help athletes develop new skills by teaming them up in mentoring relationships with disadvantaged young people.
Kelly says that “Athletes want to talk about their achievements and inspire young people. Passing on skills and knowledge is very fulfilling-I’ve found that myself.”
Ross Davenport, the swimmer and Olympic gold medalist retired after the London 2012 Olympic Games and he also says that he found life after swimming to be difficult; he stated “Straight away I felt I lost my identity as a swimmer. Not having that structure was difficult...when you stop it feels like you’re at the bottom of the pecking order.”
Ross began working with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust in order to help other athletes going through the same process as him and to help young people looking for work. He says that “I don’t regret retiring. Now I enjoy the variety of what I’m doing. It’s great to see young people I work with develop.”
Copyright Speakers Corner 2016