Dame Kelly, who won gold in the 800m and 1500m at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, was at Kelvingrove Art Gallery And Museum for the official bid launch and saw a spectacular display of gymnastics and breakdancing from city youngsters.
She told the aspiring young athletes and city dignitaries how she had been inspired to reach the top of the athletics world by competing in youth events herself.
And she then urged Glasgow to get behind the bid to bring the 2018 summer Youth Olympic Games to the city.
Dame Kelly said: "Any athlete who has competed in Glasgow will tell you this is a very special sports city.
"A Youth Olympic Games here would be an incredible way to kick-start the careers of the next generation of young athletes.
"The city has world-class facilities, a great history of hosting top sports events and some of the most passionate fans on the planet.
"Glasgow 2018 is in a great position to make a real contribution to the future of the Olympic movement."
The summer Youth Olympic Games began in 2010, with the first in Singapore. The next, in 2014, is in Nanjing, China.
Glasgow faces competition to host the 2018 event from Buenos Aires in Argentina, Guadalajara in Mexico, Medellin in Colombia, Poznan in Poland and Rotterdam, Holland.
The launch saw gymnasts from Glasgow schools perform routines in the hall as spectators looked on from the galleries above and from seats in the hall.
A dance group called Young Blud put on a breakdancing show on the stage, before BMX riders and skateboarders showed their skills outside the gallery.
Dame Kelly said: "I started athletics at school when my PE teacher twisted my arm to take part. That's how I found the sport that I love.
"It's very important for the future of athletics that events like this come to the UK.
"When we talk about an Olympic Games it is a really big event that young people can be inspired by – but it might not make it real for them.
"But if you are 17 or 18 and are selected to represent your country in a Youth Olympic Games, that will give you a lifetime of hopes and dreams to take forward."
Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson was also at the launch with Scottish Sports Minister Shona Robison, UK Sports Minister Hugh Robertson and Lord Moynihan, chairman of the British Olympic Association.
Lord Moynihan said: "To be given the privilege of hosting the 2018 Youth Olympic Games would be an immense honour for Glasgow, Scotland and the UK.
"It would permit all of us from sport, culture and education to ensure the strong youth legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games could continue to enrich the lives of young people, encouraging them to always aim for their personal best."
THE Glasgow bid is being boosted by a campaign called Be A Champion In Your Life.
This encourages youngsters to be the best they can be in all aspects of their life.
Young people have been involved at every stage of the bidding process.
The Glasgow 2018 logo was designed with help from children from the Glasgow School Of Sport at Bellahouston Academy, Shawlands Academy, and the Young Voices group in Easterhouse.
The colours blue, green, pink and purple were used – blue to represent the Scottish Saltire; green to represent the country's scenery; purple for the Scottish thistle; and pink as a nod to the colours of London 2012.
Mr Matheson said: "Young people are at the very heart of our bid and will be our strongest voice as we go all out to bring the Youth Olympic Games to these shores for the first time.
"A successful campaign would continue the legacy created by London 2012 and Glasgow 2014, helping us continue to work hard together with young people to help them build the bright future they deserve."
Ms Robison said: "The Youth Olympic Games will provide young athletes with the chance to compete at the top of their field, acting as an inspiration for young people throughout the world."
l To show your support for the bid, see the website: www.glasgow2018.com