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Pitch perfect: Maddie Hinch and her journey to Olympic gold

Meet Maddie Hinch MBE, an England Hockey and Team GB Goalkeeper who never gave up on her dream of playing hockey professionally

Posted by Rebecca Paddick | October 02, 2017 | Sports & Leisure

Maddie Hinch MBE is now the world number one female goalkeeper and has over 100 caps for England and Great Britain. Plus, you might remember her as an Olympic hero at Rio 2016 as she saved all four penalties to claim a historic gold for team GB. Here, Maddie reveals her journey to Olympic success and beyond...

What first attracted you to hockey?

I joined Hazelgrove Prep midway through their summer term. My dad was in the Navy, so we travelled back at a funny time in the year and I had to find a school. 

I was playing rounders and apparently I was incredibly dramatic diving around for balls. So they said to me, “Right Maddie, next term we must get you in a hockey goal”. I didn’t know what they meant by a hockey goalkeeper as I’d never really heard of the sport before. First it was a position where I didn’t understand what was so enjoyable about picking the ball out of the back of a net and then the more I learnt to stop it, the more I learnt to understand the feeling that comes with it when everyone appreciates you.   

How did King’s College Taunton support you with your ambitions? Are you still in touch with the school? 

King’s College were great. Firstly, they spotted my talent at Hazlegrove and encouraged me to apply for the school. They are big on sport, smaller than the giants like Millfield, but have always done well considering their numbers. Hockey is a big focus and they clearly saw something in me because I got a sports scholarship which was a big help; I don’t know if I would have been able to go there without that scholarship. 

As I realised hockey was something that I could do well in, my PE teacher at the time allowed me time to go and train with local clubs, so I joined Exmouth at the age of 15 and they made exceptions so that I could train with them in the evenings and sometimes be released after my game at school on Saturday so that I could go and play club hockey. I was playing with current internationals at the age of 15 and was surrounded by people that I aspired to be when I got older. I think if they hadn’t been that supportive of me, would I have eventually made it? I’m not so sure.  

 The PE teacher that got the ball rolling for me, Rosie Davies, will ask me how I am on social media or drop me the odd text. I am so grateful to her, because if she hadn’t spent the time to drop me off and pick me up from those clubs twice a week, I don’t know whether the same thing would have happened. 

What sporting memories do you have of King

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