The nail-biting finale to the Rio 2016 Olympic hockey final provided one of the most memorable moments of the Games for British fans. For the scorer of the winning penalty (Helen) and the long-serving team captain (Kate) it was the pinnacle of two international careers stretching over 15 years. With lessons in overcoming setbacks, building a winning culture, teamwork and leadership, the first same-sex married couple to win gold in the same team also reveal how the team changed, life in the Olympic Village, and their views on inclusion and diversity.
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh became two of the best-known figures in the Rio Olympics. Kate captained the team that won Britain’s first gold in women’s hockey, whilst Helen scored the penalty that gripped the nation and secured victory in the final.
Both Kate and Helen were part of the British and English teams for over 15 years and experienced both the highs and the lows of a team that crashed out of the World Cup ranked 11th in the world, and just two years later beat favourites the Netherlands in the Olympic final.
The duo consider their shared experiences in how the team changed, established shared values, overcame defeat and built a winning mentality. Whilst Kate looks at her role as a leader who helped turn the team around, Helen looks at the psychology of a team that went from being unable to say they wanted to win gold to become world-beaters.
In addition to their triumph in Rio and the unprecedented attention the team’s win brought to the sport, the pair also became celebrated as the first same-sex married couple to win gold medals as part of the same team. As well as lessons in teamwork, culture and leadership, they also look at aspects of diversity and inclusion.
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Kate and Helen on conflict