The Queen honours same-sex couple who are Olympic hockey champions
A same-sex couple who won golds at the Rio Olympics have been recognised by the queen.
Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh have been named in the New Year’s Honours list, along with the rest of the winning Team GB women’s hockey team.
Kate Richardson-Walsh, team captain, is to receive an OBE, while her wife gets an MBE.
The hockey players became the first married couple to play together on the same team at the Olympics.
On receiving the news, Kate said: “I am hugely honoured to receive an OBE, and for the team and our sport to be recognised in this way is huge.
“As a squad, we want hockey to be accessible and available to everyone, and we will continue to make this our mission.
“Rio was a team effort and a testament to Head Coach Danny Kerry and the magnificent support team.
“Of course none of what we achieved would have been possible without the staff and the squad of 31 working together.
“There are so many contributors to the team’s success, and I would like to mention our army of passionate volunteers who help the sport to thrive because without them we would not be receiving this honour.
“Let us keep working together in the year ahead to make our wonderful sport go from strength to strength.”
They previously also won a bronze in the London 2012 games.
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The pair say they want their sexuality and relationship to be seen as “a normal thing” which influenced their “conscious decision” to come out.
“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?’
“If you don’t mention it you could be seen as hiding it, which we didn’t want either.”
She also revealed that since coming out, the pair have received nothing but support from fans and teammates alike – especially those they’ve inspired.
“Those messages we get from time to time have made it really pleasing that we have been so open,” Helen said.