Helen Richardson-Walsh showed an amazing ability to bounce back quickly as she scored one of the crucial shoot-out goals that ultimately saw GB win women’s Olympic gold for the first time.
She missed her own shoot-out but was on hand to score from the penalty spot when Sophie Bray was felled. Despite the odd situation, she said that she felt confident stepping up for the stroke, one of just efforts scored in the shoot-out.
“Yeah, definitely. You know, shoot-outs are very different to a penalty stroke competition. People are going to miss. And also with Maddie Hinch as our goalkeeper, we know that she’s going to save more than the average goalkeeper.
“People are going to miss, so I didn’t let that bother me. I just knew that as soon as it was a stroke, I was really confident I was going to go up and slot it home.
“When I went up there, it was a really strange feeling. I actually felt like I was just back at Bisham [Abbey National Sports Centre] at our training base, and like Kate said, the more the boos came on, I was like, ‘Yeah, come on. Bring it on’.
“I didn’t get a clean connection. It kind of dribbled into the corner. But it went in, so I don’t care.”
For Richardson-Walsh – along with her wife Kate – it was a fourth shot at Olympic glory having previously competed in Sydney in 2000, Beijing in 2008, London in 2012 and now Rio.
“Seventeen years of many ups and downs, well most of them downs probably. Started very low, eighth in Sydney and, from that moment, myself and Kate just wanted to win a gold medal at an Olympic Games and become Olympic champion and it’s not been easy.
“Until the London cycle, it was really a dream. The London cycle really turned everything around. It was something that actually could happen.”