The Great Britain women’s hockey team have made their mark on sport fans back home following their historic gold medal win in the Olympics final.
The team, who won against the Netherlands on penalties in a dramatic final, are trending on Twitter following the victory, with many people confessing never to have watched hockey on TV before.
The game finished 3-3 in normal time, with Britain’s keeper Maddie Hinch making several remarkable saves. And in a nailbiting penalty shootout, she refused to be beaten by the Dutch team.
Helen Richardson-Walsh, the team’s captain, and Hollie Webb scored the decisive penalties, giving Team GB their first ever women’s hockey gold medal.
Playing against the Dutch team was never going to be easy – they were aiming to be the first women’s team to win three successive Olympic titles after winning gold in both Beijing in 2008 and London in 20012. But the British women have dominated in Rio.
As soon as the puck hit the back of the net, the British team – bronze medalists in London 2012 – leapt for joy and ran towards Webb at full pelt to celebrate, with Hinch falling to her knees.
Back home, fans were celebrating with equal enthusiasm. JK Rowling declared her love for penalty shootouts, while BBC TV presenter Jane Hill got into trouble with her neighbours for cheering loudly at the win.
Hinch also trended in her own right, with many comparing her to England’s goalkeeper, Joe Hart. David Lammy, MP for Tottenham, tweeted to ask whether there was any chance Hinch could keep goal for the England football team, a clear dig at Hart’s performance in the Euros.
The Manchester City keeper also got a bashing from the shadow home secretary, Andy Burnham. He said: “Forget Joe Hart. Think Everton should sign Maddie Hinch.”
Others confessed to being first-time hockey fans. Nigel Owens, the Welsh international rugby union referee, praised the team for being “class” while admitting to be “no expert on hockey”. Double Olympic champion Kelly Holmes tweeted to say the win was “one of the best moments of the games”.
The team’s triumph means Team GB now has 24 gold medals and a total medal haul to 58.
After the hockey team won bronze in London, funding for hockey went up and led to 25% more participation among women. The gold in Rio will surely have an even bigger impact; a number of women have already announced their intention to take up the sport since the final.
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