Remarkable Women Awards 2019: Katarina Johnson-Thompson pays tribute to “inspirational” Dame Kelly Holmes

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It’s been an incredible 12 months for Stylist’s Sports Star of the Year Katarina Johnson-Thompson – and at our Remarkable Women Awards, she celebrated her own sporting icon.

Katarina Johnson-Thompson is one of the most exciting young athletes in the world right now. Her specialities are the heptathlon and the pentathlon, two multi-faceted contests that require athletes to excel in multiple sports: the long jump, high jump, hurdles, shot put, javelin throw and running. To be good at just one of these sports is a gift. To be brilliant at all six requires a remarkable combination of natural talent, never-give-up tenacity and bloody hard work.

And the last 12 months have seen Johnson-Thompson go from strength to strength. She took home gold medals in the heptathlon at the 2018 Commonwealth Games and the pentathlon at the 2018 IAAF World Indoor Championships. At the 2018 European Championships, she won silver in the heptathlon, recording a personal best score of 6,759 – a victory that moved her into the world’s top 25 heptathletes of all time. On 1 March, the 26-year-old athlete took gold in the pentathlon at the European Indoor Championships – and experts are predicting big things for her at next year’s Olympic Games.

So when it came to deciding who would be named Sports Star of the Year at Stylist’s inaugural Remarkable Women Awards, there was no more obvious choice than Johnson-Thompson. She was presented with her prize at the awards ceremony on 5 March by another legendary British female athlete, Dame Kelly Holmes.

“I don’t need to explain just how much training, dedication and sheer persistence goes into mastering so many disciplines at world champion level, but you can take it from me, this woman is incredible,” Holmes said.

“A role model to thousands of young women across the country, she is also an inspiration to me.”

“I can’t believe I was even invited, let alone won an award. I’m so honoured to be in this room,” Johnson-Thompson said. “Just hearing Dame Kelly Holmes say nice things about me is insane.”

Addressing Holmes, she said: “You’re so inspirational, and I hope I’ll go on to have just half of the gold medals you have.”

The Remarkable Women Awards were hosted by the comedian and host of The Guilty Feminist podcast Deborah Frances-White, who also paid tribute to Johnson-Thompson.

“Too many young girls drop out of playing sport during their teenage years because they’re encouraged to sit pretty on the sidelines,” Frances-White said.

“We need public powerhouse pro-athletes right in the spotlight where our girls can see them.”

To follow all of the action from the 2019 Remarkable Women Awards, check out Stylist’s live blog here.

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Images: Rex Features / Getty Images

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Moya Crockett

Moya is a freelance journalist and writer from London, and a former editor at Stylist.