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Dame Kelly Holmes joins York Festival of Ideas to discuss science of elite sport

Posted on 18 April 2024

Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes, is one of a number of distinguished figures to take part in this year’s York Festival of Ideas under the theme of ‘The Power Of…’.

Dame Kelly Holmes will talk about the science of elite sport

Speaking as part of a Festival Focus event, presented in partnership with the French Embassy, UK, Dame Kelly will address whether science can contribute to making athletes faster and stronger, and the key attributes of sports people, such as talent and commitment, that contribute to the success of creating elite athletes.

York Festival of Ideas will run from 1 to 14 June 2024 with more than 200 mostly free events, in-person and online, addressing the ‘power’ of a range of topics that help improve understanding of our world - from the ‘power’ of nature to awe and inspire, to the ‘power’ of education to open minds, and the ‘power’ of history to help inform the present and future.

Other big names joining the Festival this year include journalist and author, Frank Gardner who will discuss his life, career and latest book Invasion. As BBC Security Correspondent, Frank was ambushed by terrorists in Saudi Arabia in 2004, shot several times and left for dead.  He returned to active news reporting within a year, however, and still travels extensively, earning an OBE for services to journalism in 2005.

Personal journeys

Award-winning actor, Sir Simon Russell Beale, will join international renowned pianist, Lucy Parham, to tell the story of the Rêverie which chronicles the life of one of the most prolific and innovative composers of the early 20th century, Claude Debussy.

BBC journalist and presenter Ashley John-Baptiste, will tell the story of the UK's care provision from the inside, revealing his personal journey from early experiences in care to success. Ashley will share his memories and speak about the adults and social workers who impacted his early life and encouraged his aspirations. 

Art historian and broadcaster, Janina Ramirez, will reveal the countless influential women whose names were struck out of historical records, manipulating our view of history, and in particular how the Middle Ages are represented - a bloodthirsty time of Vikings, saints and kings that oppressed women. 

Free events

York Festival of Ideas, organised by the University of York, is one of the largest free festivals of its kind in the UK, and is made possible by the generous support of organisations including the Holbeck Charitable Trust, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, York Civic Trust, the Morrell Centre for Legal and Political Philosophy, Aviva and the French Embassy in the UK.

More events are due to be announced over the coming weeks, with tickets being available to book from Friday, 3 May. For more information visit the Festival website:

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