The first gay married couple to compete in the Olympics now have a couple of other firsts to add to their names, being the first gay married couple who are medalists, and the first gay married couple who are gold medalists (They had also won bronze as an unmarried couple on the same team in 2012 at the London Olympics).
Last Friday night (19th August) Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh, from Maidenhead in the UK, both on the women’s field hockey team for Great Britain, won gold. Their team were playing The Netherlands, and after a tie, 3-3, there had to be a shootout, which Great Britain won. Kate (the most capped player with 368 intnl caps and the most-capped female player) captained the team, and has been captain since 2003.
She has just yesterday (Saturday 20th August) confirmed her retirement from international hockey, having made her international debut in 1999, and 375 appearances for her country.
In the shootout with The Netherlands, Kate’s wife Helen scored, and then Hollie Webb brought it home with another strike, making it 2-0 for Britain after a 3-3 draw. Goalie Maddie Hinch saved 3 shots from the Netherlands team in the shootout.
The team had trained hard for this event, coached by Danny Kerr, and in the semi-final against New Zealand, two of their members, Crista Cullen and Georgie Twigg had been injured around the face and head.
Having won bronze in the 2012 Olympics in London, where Kate had also captained, and Helen played, the team felt that they wouldn’t be happy now with bronze or silver, and had gone into the Rio Games with one thought in their heads, to win the gold. Christa Cullen had said:
“To fight for a gold medal, that’s what our expectations are”.
It seems the team, led by Kate and with goal-scoring from wife, Helen, have managed to live up to their high expectations.
– M. Butler