Four-time Olympian Kate Richardson-Walsh has today been nominated as Team GB’s Closing Ceremony Flagbearer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Richardson-Walsh captained Team GB’s unbeaten women’s hockey side to their first ever Olympic gold at Rio 2016, following a shootout victory over reigning champions the Netherlands.
The 36-year-old first made her Olympic debut at Sydney 2000 before going on to compete at Beijing 2008 and London 2012, helping the team win bronze four years ago.
Richardson-Walsh was nominated following a decision by a British Olympic Association panel headed by Chef de Mission Mark England and will carry the Union Flag into the Maracana this evening.
The Ceremony concludes a record-breaking Games for Team GB who become the first nation in history to win more medals immediately after hosting the Olympic Games having collected 67 medals at Rio 2016.
Kate Richardson-Walsh said: “I feel incredibly proud to have been chosen. There are so many athletes here who have achieved great things in Rio and I’m incredibly surprised and excited to carry the flag this evening.
“I’m very aware of the magnitude of this honour having been part of this magnificent team who have just excelled in so many ways and in so many sports. There are so many fantastic multi-Olympians and multi-medallists here I feel it’s such a huge honour for me and for hockey as a sport.
“I’ve had such a fantastic Games. If you could write a movie script with a fairy tale ending then this would be it. However much you talk about working hard and believing that your dreams will come true, when it actually happens you still have to pinch yourself. It’s just been an amazing few weeks here.
“What the whole team has done here has been infectious. The professionalism, attention to detail and real British spirit that every athlete has brought to their performances has culminated in this record-breaking achievement. It’s just the most special and supportive place to be. I will certainly miss it and hope it is an environment that will continue for many Olympic Games to come.”
Chef de Mission Mark England said: “To captain the team to a first women’s hockey gold is an incredible achievement and befits a remarkable Games for Team GB here at Rio 2016. There is no one more fitting than Kate to lead Team GB into the Closing Ceremony in what has been the greatest British sporting triumph of all time.
“For 16 years Kate has been on this journey with Team GB and has embodied the values and spirit of our Olympians throughout her career both as a captain and an athlete. The success of her and her team gripped the nation on Friday and no doubt inspired many to try to follow in her footsteps.”