OLYMPIC GOLDEN GIRL AND HER ROCK
Oct 17 2004
By Ben Todd & Sara Nuwar
THIS is the "rock" behind Olympic heroine Kelly Holmes. Secretary Amy Terriere has become track star Kelly's confidante and closest friend.
Friends believe that Amy has helped the former army sergeant find a new level of happiness following her double gold in Athens in August.
The pair have now become virtually inseparable, and earlier this month they enjoyed a holiday together.
Last night a source said: "Kelly couldn't be happier. In the summer she pushed on to the next level in her career. Now Amy has helped her push on as a person."
Kelly stormed to victory in both the 800m and the 1500m events at the Olympics. She is now the odds-on favourite to be crowned BBC Sports Personality Of The Year in December.
Following her Olympic triumph and a host of public appearances, Kelly, 34, and Amy, 27, sealed their close friendship with a trip to South Africa.
They spent three days in the scenic Stellenbosch region, the heart of the South African wine industry, driving to local beauty spots, enjoying walks together and doing what all girls love - shopping.
Despite Kelly's newfound fame and fortune they spurned luxury hotels, instead staying in the small one-bedroom apartment at Stellenbosch University, where Kelly trains during the winter.
But this time Kelly kept off the running track, opting to spend as much time as possible with Amy.
During the trip they visited picturesque Clifton Beach and enjoyed a shopping spree at the Victoria and Alfred Wharf mall in Cape Town.
Kelly was recognised several times, but while she was happy to sign autographs and talk to fans, Amy chose to stay in the background.
The couple spent their evenings together at the apartment.
When they were leaving Cape Town on Friday October 8, Amy again chose to keep out of the limelight.
She veered her trolley away from Kelly as soon as the star was spotted by photographers.
The pair then flew to Johannesburg before a 12-hour flight back to the UK.
One British tourist said: "Kelly looked very happy and relaxed with Amy when they were out shopping. They had a really good giggle looking round and trying on clothes."
The pair met at the British Olympic Association in London, where Amy works as assistant to Jan Paterson, director of the British Olympic Foundation.
Like Kelly, Amy - a graduate of Loughborough University - is also a keen sportswoman.
She has played for a number of women's teams as well as taking part in several half-marathons.
Until last month Amy spent nine months living with another female friend in Croydon, Surrey.
South Africa has become a second home to Kelly in recent years. She moved there in November 2002 to live with Mozambique-born athlete Maria Mutola.
Maria won the 800m title at the Sydney Olympics in 2000 but was beaten by Kelly this summer.
The pair had enjoyed one of the closest relationships in athletics, but their friendship cooled earlier this year.
Kelly then moved out of the home they shared and bought her own five-bedroom villa in Potchefstroom, near Johannesburg.
Kelly's love life spent as many years in the doldrums as her track career before she struck gold.
She dated fellow athlete Jason Dullforce, 34, for five years, but that ended in the late 1990s.
She suffered so many setbacks after leaving the Army in 1997 she came to be nicknamed Sicknote and was known as Britain's unluckiest athlete.
But her triumphs in Athens made her the first British athlete to win two Olympic golds at the distances since Albert Hill in 1920. Meanwhile Kelly yesterday announced plans to nurture the careers of the next generation of female middle-distance runners.
She has invited eight of the country's most promising athletes to the Norwich Union sponsored, "On Camp With Kelly," where she will supervise their day-to-day training.
Speaking at a press conference at Crystal Palace, Kelly said: "This is something I have always wanted to do - pass on my experiences and get the message across that life in athletics has its ups and downs, as I know first-hand, but can be overcome."
Since returning from the Olympics, Kelly has discovered a whole new showbusiness world. Immediately following her success she was the star of an open-top parade and civic reception at her home town of Tonbridge in Kent.
Since then she has presented a gong at the glitzy MOBO awards at the Royal Albert Hall.
She also told her life story over eight pages of a glossy magazine.
Kelly was even asked out on a date by Tom Cruise after they appeared together on ITV1 chat show Parkinson - but she politely declined.
The Hollywood actor phoned and asked her to accompany him to the premiere of his latest film Collateral, but Kelly explained: "He was such a nice guy.
"He asked me to go to his premiere. But I'd gone straight back to Kent and I would have had to turn straight around - and I hadn't got any clothes to wear."
Last night a spokesman for Kelly told the Sunday Mirror: "Kelly just thought she would have a quiet week in her apartment in Stellenbosch, where she has many friends.
"She is sure the British public can understand and respect how her life has changed overnight since Athens - and her need for a little time out."
He added: "Kelly is a private person. She hasn't discussed her private life in the past and that isn't going to change now."