DANSON Alexandra < Back  
Sport Hockey
CGA England   
Gender Women
Born 21 May 1985 in Southampton, ENG
Height1.65 m
Weight 56 kg
Human Interest
Further Personal Information
Residence Basingstoke, ENG
Occupation Athlete
Languages English
Higher education Open University: England
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport? She took up hockey at age six at her school in Hampshire, England.
Why this sport? She was a county tennis player, but preferred the team aspect of hockey. After watching a hockey match with her parents she begged her mother to buy her a hockey stick. She used to play with her mum in the garden and then began playing with the boys' team after school before joining her local club.
Club / Team Reading : England
Name of coach Mike Irving [club]; Danny Kerry [national], GBR
Preferred position / style / stance / technique Forward
Handedness Right
International Debut
Year 2001
Competing for England
Opponent Germany
General Interest
Nicknames Alex, Sleepy (Athlete, 31 Jul 2008; englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013; Twitter profile, 03 May 2016)
Hobbies Surfing, snowboarding, climbing, cycling. (englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013)
Memorable sporting achievement Making her debut for England against Germany in 2001. (englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013)
Most influential person in career Her mother, and English hockey player and coach Ali Wakefield. (englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013)
Hero / Idol British hurdler Sally Gunnell, British hockey player Christie Cullen, British rower Steve Redgrave. (telegraph.co.uk, 02 Jun 2010; telegraph.co.uk, 14 Jan 2014)
Injuries At the end of 2015, she dislocated her right thumb while training for Great Britain's six-match Test Series in Australia, which resulted in a ruptured ligament and a small fracture. (sport-magazine.co.uk, 14 Apr 2016)

She was taken to hospital for concussion after a heavy collision during the opening game of the Champions Trophy in December 2014 in Argentina. (telegraph.co.uk, 15 Jun 2015; telegraph.co.uk, 20 Aug 2015)

In May 2012, she bruised a bone in her shoulder after colliding with a defender at the Olympic test event ahead of the 2012 Games in London. (BBC, 09 May 2012)

She broke her thumb at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, which ruled her out of the first five matches in the Dutch league for her club Klein Zwitserland. (More Than The Games, 23 Mar 2009)

She has dislocated both shoulders. (Athlete, 31 Jul 2008)
Superstitions / Rituals / Beliefs She puts her left shin pad on first, is always the second player to run onto the pitch and spins her hockey stick 15 times before each game starts. (englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013)
Sporting philosophy / motto "Talent alone is not enough, you've got to work hard and you've got to love what you do." (telegraph.co.uk, 14 Jan 2014)

"Train hard. Love what you do, because success is in the journey, not the destination." (greatbritainhockey.co.uk, 01 Jul 2014)
Awards and honours She was named Player of the Tournament at the 2015 EuroHockey Championships in London, England, where she vice-captained the English team that won the tournament in a shoot-out against the Netherlands. (bbc.co.uk, 30 Aug 2015; basingstokeobserver.co.uk, 31 Aug 2015; getreading.co.uk, 05 Sep 2015)

She was named in the International Hockey Federation's [FIH] World All-Star Team in 2011. (englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013)

In 2010, she was named as England Hockey's International Athlete of the Year, and also won the UK Hockey Writers' Club Player of the Year award. (righttoplay.com, 2013; hockeywritersclub.com, 12 May 2016)
Other sports She has represented England at rounders. (Athlete, 31 Jul 2008)
Ambitions To win a gold medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (bbc.co.uk, 22 Dec 2015)
In June 2015 she scored her 35th goal to became Great Britain's second-highest goalscorer, behind Jan Sixsmith [56]. (telegraph.co.uk, 15 Jun 2015)

She decided to take a break from playing for Reading Hockey Club in 2014 and 2015 in order to focus on national team training and have more balance in her personal life. "I didn't play much [club hockey] of last season [2014/15] as being full-time with the England and GB squad, as well as having some other commitments, I just wanted to take a day off each week to be with my family." (express.co.uk, 25 May 2015; bracknellnews.co.uk, 11 Sep 2015)

Her open goal miss at the 2006 World Cup in Madrid, Spain, continues to motivate her and is a memory which she shares when she mentors young people through sport. “The reason I often tell that story is because I was, bizarrely, sent a picture afterwards by someone and remember thinking 'why on earth did they send me that?' Actually, it was very clever. It's just a picture of me after the game on the floor, stick on floor, head in hands looking devastated. It's that moment in time which you don't want to happen again. It was a mind set of change for me after that.” (telegraph.co.uk, 20 Aug 2015)

She is an Athlete Mentor on the Living for Sport project, which is run by the Youth Sports Trust and aims to improve the lives of young people through sport. Since 2008 she has been an Athlete Ambassador for Right to Play, which is an organisation that uses sport and recreation to promote social change in the lives of young children. (englandhockey.co.uk, 30 Jun 2013; righttoplay.com, 2013; telegraph.co.uk, 20 Aug 2015)

She rejected the idea that hockey is too dangerous for children to play after a survey of 2000 UK parents found 40% would not want their child to take up the sport. "If we take away some of the sports that have risk attached to them, you take away a vehicle to learn. That would be such a shame for young people coming through. There is an element of scaremongering to have a report that says it is dangerous and your child shouldn't be involved. From a player's point of view that is a travesty. Hockey is a sport that is fast, athletic and has abilities to teach young people." (telegraph.co.uk, 24 Feb 2014)

She is a vegetarian and has been for most of her life. She eats a lot of dairy products, tofu, beans, seeds and nuts in order to get enough protein in her diet. (bbcgoodfood.com, 01 Jan 2012)