Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – February 2017

February is LGBT History Month and with this in mind we have chosen Kate Richardson-Walsh as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Kate is an Olympic Gold and Bronze medal winning hockey player. She was capped a record 375 times for her country and was the England and Great Britain Captain for 13 years.  She started playing hockey at school aged 11 and it took her only nine years to progress to represent her country at the Olympic Games. Kate made both her England and Great Britain debuts in 1999 and has since gone on to play at the full range of international tournaments including four Summer Olympics, four Hockey World Cups and four Commonwealth Games.   In 2003 aged 23 years old she was made captain of the senior GB hockey team, a role she held for a further 13 years until her retirement in 2016.

At the 2012 London Olympics Kate’s remarkable character and determination to set an example and lead her team was highlighted by the fact that she returned to play in the tournament having broken her jaw during a game only three matches earlier in the competition.  The team with her inspiration went on to win the Bronze medal.

At the Rio Olympics in 2016 Kate captained Great Britain team to their first gold medal. The team were undefeated throughout the tournament, beating The Netherlands in the final on penalties.  A feat which saw her being selected to be the Team GB flag bearer at the closing ceremony

Following the 2016 Olympics and after 375 appearances for her country, 19 medals, 49 goals and 13 years as GB and England Captain, she confirmed her retirement from International hockey.  She is currently taking the opportunity to play club hockey in the Netherlands.

Kate currently serves as an ambassador for the Women’s Sport Trust, supports disability hockey as an ambassador for Access Sport, and between 2013 and 2016 she was elected to the British Olympic Association Athletes’ Commission and European Olympic Athlete’s Commissions.

In 2013 Kate married Great Britain and England teammate Helen Richardson and together they made history becoming the first same-sex married couple to win an Olympic Gold medal together and the first married British couple to win Gold together since 1920. In 2017 Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh were both awarded honours, making them the first same-sex married couple to be honoured on the same list.

In 2015 Kate was awarded an MBE for services to hockey and an OBE in the 2017 New Year Honours, also for services to hockey.  In 2016 Kate was the first hockey player to be shortlisted for BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Kate’s leadership skills, inspiration, determination to succeed and true grit has earned her the nickname ‘Captain Fantastic’ and never has a nickname been better suited.