Married lesbian couple say historic Olympic joint-gold hockey win is ‘really special’
A married lesbian couple has spoken out after becoming the first in Olympic history to jointly win an Olympic gold medal.
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh played in the match against the Netherlands yesterday evening, which led to Team GB winning gold.
The match went to penalties before Team GB took the lead to win 2-0 against the Netherlands.
The two team GB hockey players spoke of their pride after becoming the first same-sex married couple to make it to an Olympic final together.
Kate Richardson- Walsh, the team captain, said it was a “really special” moment to stand on the podium next to her wife Helen, with Great Britain already guaranteed at least a silver going into this evening’s match
“It is really special. To win an Olympic medal is special, to win an Olympic medal with your wife standing next to you, taking the penalty in the pressure moments is so special. We will cherish this for the rest of our lives,” she said.
“I honestly felt the more the crowd booed, the more Helen was going to score. I know how that inspires her, the passion of wanting to prove others wrong and deliver.”
Her wife Helen, who has said she will probably retire from international hockey, said: “We’ve had 17 years of many ups and downs. We started very low, at eighth in Sydney and from that moment we just wanted to win an Olympic medal.”
“It’s not been easy and it just shows that if you put your mind to it and dedicate your life to something you can make it happen.”
The team was congratulated by out gay BBC presenter Clare Balding on Twitter, who wrote: “Wow wow wow. Well done GB #hockey. What an achievement. ”
The pair recently became the first married couple to play together on the same team at the Olympics and the first married couple since 1900 to win medals on the same team.
Defying the odds, skipper Kate, 36, retired in 2014 but decided to make a comeback for Rio, whilst Helen is competing despite two lots of back surgery in 12 months.
They previously won a bronze in the London 2012 games, but this time, the ladies are going for gold and won’t let anything stand in their way.
“It would be really special [to win gold]. We’ve been through ups and downs,” Kate added.
“I would really love to go out with a bang and stand on top of that podium and sing the national anthem and be one of those people.”
The pair previously said that they want their sexuality and relationship to be seen as “a normal thing”.
“We’re not out there shouting it, it’s just part and parcel of who we are,” Kate said.
Helen added: “If you are really open about it, people say, ‘Why do you make such a big deal about it?’
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“When people say ‘you’ve helped me come out to my parents’ or ‘deal with my own sexuality’ it’s really powerful.”
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An Italian open water swimming star earlier this week become the first Italian Olympic athlete at the Rio 2016 games to publicly come out as gay with an inspirational message about acceptance.
A record number of out LGBT Olympians took to Rio this year to participate in the games, but none were from Team Italy.
Tom Bosworth – a race walker for Team GB – tweeted a photo of himself proposing to his boyfriend on Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro earlier this week.
Bosworth and his boyfriend were the second gay couple to engaged at this year’s games, after a rugby sevens player was proposed to by her girlfriend.