Maddie Hinch: GB’s Olympic champion goalkeeper retires after ‘fairy tale’ career

  • Author: Katie Stafford
  • BBC Sport

image source, Getty Images

image caption,

Hinch (right) played 186 times for England and Great Britain

When Maddie Hinch saved four shots to seal Olympic hockey gold and make British sporting history, she wasn’t prepared for what happened.

That moment in 2016 was watched by nine million people on television in Britain, delayed by the BBC’s News at Ten, and he and his team achieved instant fame.

Hinch, who announced his international retirement, reflected on the “weight of gold” after the “story” in Rio.

“It’s a part of my life that I’ll always struggle to understand,” he said.

“But I feel incredibly grateful to be part of the golden age of the sport,” the 34-year-old told BBC Sport.

It was the first time Great Britain had won Olympic women’s hockey gold, beating defending champions the Netherlands in dramatic fashion.

“In the beginning we were all running on adrenaline. We weren’t used to it and we certainly weren’t ready for it,” added Hinch.

“Because of the amount of preparation we did, the only thing we didn’t really think about was the popularity and ‘what if we win?'”

“It was time to inspire people”

image source, Getty Images

image caption,

Hinch had a little red book with notes on the opposition for the 2016 Olympic final

Initially “on a high” after the victory, Hinch described the return to the post-Rio reality as “terrible”.

“Now I was a name people talked about, saw and followed and I felt a sense of hope,” she said.

“I talk about the weight of the gold medal, yes, because it’s gold, but literally the weight I felt behind it was when I was unprepared.

“It was overwhelming for a lot of us. We were being picked on left, right and centre, even cutting carrots on breakfast shows and it was amazing because it was a time to share what we do and encourage people to believe that it’s possible.

“Going through that, I think, prepared me better for the later part of my career in the sport, because without it I think I would have potentially ended up with resentment. But I don’t have that.”

Four months after Great Britain won the gold medal, Hinch was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honors List for services to hockey.

On whether he has any advice for star athletes, he added: “Talk about it. I’ve spent the better part of a year saying I’m fine, but I need to be fine more.

“I had the perception that I couldn’t be vulnerable, because in elite sport they think that weakness is weakness, which is not the case at all.

“I would speak sooner if I could repeat that period of my life.”

“I made a promise to myself”

He was a three-time European medalist for England and played 186 times for Great Britain after making his international debut at the age of 19 in 2008.

That completed the whole set for the goalkeeper, who has silver and bronze medals from Glasgow 2014 and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

On why he chose to retire now, he said: “I didn’t know when I would feel it was the right time. You have to give 100%, so for me I would be disappointed if I didn’t. That.

“I made a promise to myself that when I no longer give 100%, I will stop and give the first shirt to someone else.”

Skip Twitter content, 1

Allow Twitter content?

This article contains content provided by Twitter. We ask for your permission before uploading anything, as it may be using cookies and other technologies. You might want to read Twitter cookie policy and privacy policy before accepting To view this content, choose ‘accept and continue’.

End of Twitter content, 1

What’s next for Hinch?

“I’m still competing for my club in the Netherlands [HC Tilburg]so I’ll play about 10 more hockey games and then we’ll see,” he said.

“I don’t know if these will be my last games, or if I’ll be back in the English leagues. I’ll be booking my summer holidays first!

“I want to give more of my time to my company [a coaching business] because the community around the goalkeepers is special and I have only been inspired by the pitch.

“I’d also like to get out and see what life has to offer. I’d like to test the waters.”

Related Articles

Sorry, delete AdBlocks

Add Ban ads I wish to close them