RICHARDSON-WALSH Helen < Back  
Sport Hockey
CGA England   
Gender Women
Born 23 Sep 1981 in Hitchin, ENG
Height1.65 m
Weight 55 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Family Wife Kate Richardson-Walsh
Other names Helen Richardson
Occupation Athlete, Student
Languages English
Higher education Psychology - Open University
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She first played hockey at age seven at West Bridgford Hockey Club in Nottinghamshire, England.
Why this sport? Her father played, and she joined a hockey club with her three older brothers.
Club / Team Reading: Great Britain
Name of coach Merijn van Willigen [club]; Danny Kerry [national], GBR
Preferred position / style / stance / technique Midfielder
Handedness Right
International Debut
Year 1999
Competing for England
Opponent Japan
General Interest
Nicknames Richo (englandhockey.co.uk, 25 Sep 2007)
Hobbies Watching sport, eating out, playing golf. (englandhockey.co.uk, 09 May 2016)
Most influential person in career Her family, and her surgeon. (Athlete, 03 Jul 2011)
Hero / Idol German tennis player Steffi Graf. (greatbritainhockey.co.uk, 24 Aug 2013)
Injuries She sustained a hamstring injury during the semifinal match New Zealand at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (ONS, 17 Aug 2016)

She had ongoing problems with a ruptured disc between the L4 and L5 vertebrae in her back, and had surgery on it March 2013. She required a second operation in February 2014, and the rehabilitation period eventually ruled her out of contention for both the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands, and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. She returned to international competition in February 2015. (backtomybest.blogpost.co.uk, 28 Feb 2014; bbc.com, 21 May 2014; express.co.uk, 23 Mar 2015; nottinghampost.com, 03 Nov 2015)

She was out of competition for two years between January 2003 and January 2005 after having three operations on her ankle. (GB Hockey Media Guide 2008)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs She likes to be last in the line when team walks on to the pitch before a match. (englandhockey.co.uk, 09 May 2016)
Sporting philosophy / motto "The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will." [Vince Lombardi] (greatbritainhockey.co.uk, 24 Aug 2013)
Awards and honours She won the England Hockey League [EHL] Premier Division Player of the Season award in 2012. (englandhockey.co.uk, 09 Jun 2012)

She was named Great Britain Hockey Athlete of the Year in 2010 and 2012. (news.bbc.co.uk, 19 Aug 2011; sportqa.com, 04 Apr 2012)

She was shortlisted for the International Hockey Federation [FIH] Player of the Year award in 2010, and was named in the FIH All-Star team in 2009, 2010 and 2011. (fih.ch, 22 Dec 2011; thetopofthed.com, 24 Oct 2013)

She was named UK Hockey Writers' Club Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010. (hockeywritersclub.com, 09 May 2016)
Other sports She was part of the West Bridgford School team that won a national football competition. (Cambridge City Hockey Club YouTube, 05 Sep 2013)
Famous relatives Her brothers Andrew and Steven have both played hockey at national league standard in England. (wbhockey.co.uk, 11 Aug 2009)
Ambitions To win a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (nottinghampost.com, 03 Nov 2015)
Other information MARRIAGE
She and Kate Walsh had been international teammates since 2000, and started a relationship together at about the time of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. They were both in the Great Britain team that won bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and she even had to deputise as team captain for a few matches after Walsh's jaw was broken in the first match against Japan. Just over a year after London 2012 in September 2013 they got married in Henley and both adopted the surname Richardson-Walsh. "People were saying 'thank you' to us for putting it out there. We were not doing so to make a big song and dance, we didn't see it as a big deal. It is our life and we just saw it [getting married] as a normal part of our lives together." (telegraph.co.uk, 15 May 2008; getreading.co.uk, 04 Sep 2013; bbc.com, 21 May 2014; englandhockey.co.uk, 08 May 2016)

MENTOR
She has been a mentor in the Youth Sport Trust's Living for Sport programme. "I believe everyone has the ability to achieve all they want to. The Living for Sport programme provides a fantastic platform for young people to realise and reach their potential, and I can't wait to inspire the students, to build their confidence and encourage them to be the very best that they can be. (livingforsport.skysports.com, 12 Aug 2012; LinkedIn profile, 09 May 2016)

YOUNGEST
At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, she became, at age 18, the youngest female hockey player to have represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games. (englandhockey.co.uk, 12 Dec 2010)

EARLY DAYS
She was involved with England cricket at junior level, and idolised former England captain Mike Atherton, before deciding to concentrate on hockey. (Cambridge City Hockey Club YouTube, 05 Sep 2013)