LIMELIGHT: Hinch recalls experiences after 2016 gold
PA Mike Egerton
Hockey star Maddie Hinch recalls an appearance on the Jonathan Ross Show as one of her many random experiences following Great Britain’s stunning gold medal triumph at the Rio Olympics.
Hinch remembers six months of “madness” after she saved all four penalties during a shoot-out for gold against Holland in 2016.
On Sunday, everything gets real again as the British women’s squad launch their Olympic title defence against Germany in Tokyo.
Goalkeeper Hinch is among seven of the Rio squad involved this time around, but it will also have a new look following international retirements of players like Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh, Crista Cullen and Georgia Twigg.
“There was definitely a big difference in attention on us individually and as a sport, which is great, because we would rather have people talking than not talking,” Hinch said.
“For the first six months or so, it was just madness back home.
“We would find ourselves on television shows and doing really random things, but it was so great for a sport that is essentially fighting against many big sports (for attention).
“The Jonathan Ross Show – that was really cool – and then he invited us all to his Halloween party. There was also chopping up carrots or something on Saturday morning television.
“It was so random, but all of a sudden it became almost normal, in a weird way. We were able to just talk about hockey on stages that never would have had that sort of exposure.”
Britain will face Germany and Holland among their five group stage opponents, along with Ireland, India and South Africa.
The other qualifying pool, meanwhile, features Australia, Argentina, New Zealand, Spain, China and Japan.
Hinch, who has made more than 100 international appearances, added: “It’s great to finally be here, it is great that it’s happening. It’s also strange being back, and it feels like time has flown by.
“The number one thing is to focus on the first game. You can’t get carried away by what anyone else is doing.
“I think that was the biggest thing we learned from Rio. We really did have this one game at a time mentality, so the final just felt like game number eight instead of a final.
“It’s very easy at this point to start getting the jitters and thinking ‘I need to do a bit more of this or a bit more of this’.
“We’ve prepared five years for this one, so we are ready. We are trying to write our own story here, and we will see what that story will be.”
Britain’s men, meanwhile, open up against South Africa on Saturday, with Belgium, Holland, Germany and Canada also in their pool.
The top four teams in each group make the quarter-finals in both competitions.
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