Helen Richardson-Walsh

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Helen Richardson-Walsh
Helen Richardson Supersixes Finals Day 2011.jpg
Personal information
Birth name Helen Richardson
Born (1981-09-23) 23 September 1981 (age 35)
Hitchin, Hertfordshire, England
Height 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Weight 55 kg (121 lb)
Spouse(s) Kate Richardson-Walsh (m. 2013)
Country  Great Britain
Sport Field hockey

Helen Richardson-Walsh, MBE (née Richardson, born 23 September 1981) is an English field hockey player who plays as a midfielder.[1] She has been a member of both the England and the Great Britain women's field hockey teams since 1999, and was a member of the Great Britain team that won gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Early life[edit]

Helen Richardson was born in Hitchin, Hertfordshire[1] and grew up in Nottingham.[2] She began playing hockey at a young age, joining West Bridgford Hockey Club at the age of seven.[3] She attended Uphill Primary school in Weston Super-Mare[4] before returning to her home city of Nottingham as a teenager where she attended West Bridgford School and South Nottingham College.[5]


Richardson played for West Bridgford and Sherwood Hockey Clubs before joining Leicester Hockey Club.[6] She won her first England cap in 1999, at the age of 17.[1][3] At age 18 she was a member of the Great Britain team at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, becoming the youngest female hockey player to represent Great Britain at an Olympic Games.[7]

Richardson was a member of the silver medal-winning England team at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.[6] After the 2002 World Cup she underwent three operations on her ankle, returning to the sport in 2004.[8]

Richardson won bronze medals with the England team at the 2006 and 2010 Commonwealth Games.[6] She competed in her second Olympics in 2008,[9] where Great Britain did not advance to the semi-finals.[10] After the 2008 Olympics she spent a year playing for HC Den Bosch in the Netherlands before returning to England,[11] after which she played for Reading Hockey Club for seven years.[12]

Richardson was part of the Great Britain team that won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in London,[6] captaining the team for two games after regular captain Kate Walsh broke her jaw in the opening match.[1] Between 2013 and 2014 she underwent surgery twice for spinal disc herniation.[13] She was left out of the England squad for the 2014 World Cup,[14] but returned to international hockey with the Great Britain team in April 2015.[15] In August 2015 she was part of the England team that won the EuroHockey Nations Championship for the first time, scoring a penalty in the gold medal match penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands.[16]

Richardson-Walsh was a member of the Great Britain team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the first time that Great Britain had won gold in women's hockey.[17] She scored one of Great Britain's two penalties in the deciding penalty shoot-out in the final against the Netherlands.[17] Richardson-Walsh announced that she would leave Reading Hockey Club to join HC Bloemendaal in the Netherlands after the Olympics,[12] and suggested that she would retire from international hockey.[18]


In 2009 she was shortlisted for the International Hockey Federation's World Player of the Year Award and has been named in the FIH World All Stars Team three times, in 2009, 2010 and 2011.[19]

In 2009 and 2010 she was named as Player of the Year by the Hockey Writers' Club[20]

In 2009, 2011 and 2016 she was awarded the Majorie Pollard Salver, making her the first player to receive the award three times. [21][22]

In 2009 she was named as the BOA Athlete of the Year by Great Britain Hockey.[5]

Following her Gold Medal success Richardson-Walsh has received various awards and accolades from her home city of Nottingham, including; Nottingham City Transport naming a bus after her,[23] local Brewery 'Magpie Brewery' creating a guest ale 'Golden Hels' in her honour and receiving The Nottingham Sportswoman of the Year Award.[24] In 2017 Richardson-Walsh also won the Sports Person of the Year in the Sport Nottinghamshire Awards.[25]

In the 2017 New Year Honours Richardson-Walsh was awarded an MBE for services to hockey. Her wife and team mate Kate received an OBE, making them the first same-sex married couple to be honoured in the same list. [26]

Personal life[edit]

In 2008 she began a relationship with her Great Britain and England teammate Kate Walsh.[1] They married in 2013, and both adopted the surname Richardson-Walsh.[27]

Both Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh were members of the gold medal-winning Great Britain team at the 2016 Olympics;[17] this made them the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic gold as part of the same team, and the first British married couple to win gold as part of the same team since 1920.[28]

Richardson-Walsh is studying for a degree in psychology with the Open University.[29]

As a lifelong Spurs fan, Richardson-Walsh is a patron of the Proud Lilywhites, the official LGBT association of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.[30]


  1. ^ a b c d e "England's Kate Richardson-Walsh on marrying her team-mate". BBC Sport. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  2. ^ Harris, Cathy (7 July 2010). "Helen Richardson happy to stick around at home". The Times. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  3. ^ a b "Helen Richardson-Walsh – Sky Sports Living for Sport". Sky Sports. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "Chance to meet Team GB gold medal winner Helen Richardson-Walsh". Somerset Live. 2016-08-22. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  5. ^ a b "Helen Richardson named Great Britain Hockey Athlete of the Year". Fédération Internationale de Hockey. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Helen Richardson, GB Hockey Athlete of the Year". England Hockey. 30 September 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  7. ^ "Helen Richardson-Walsh – GB Hockey". Great Britain Hockey. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  8. ^ Middleton, Claire (13 December 2004). "Richardson goal is just reward". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  9. ^ Nichols, Peter (16 August 2008). "Olympics: Hockey – Britain's women defeat Japan 2–1 but now rely on others if they wish to progress". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  10. ^ Campbell, Jeremy (18 August 2008). "Olympics, Beijing 2008 hockey: goalless draw ends GB women's medal hopes". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  11. ^ "Hockey Writers' Club honour English elite". Fédération Internationale de Hockey. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  12. ^ a b "Hockey: Reading duo Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh to leave the club". Reading Chronicle. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  13. ^ "Team GB Exclusive: The ongoing Richardson-Walsh rollercoaster". Team GB. 18 June 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  14. ^ "England's Helen Richardson-Walsh to miss Hockey World Cup". BBC Sport. 8 May 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  15. ^ "Helen Richardson-Walsh back in Great Britain squad to play Japan". BBC Sport. 22 April 2015. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  16. ^ Simpson, Christopher (30 August 2015). "EuroHockey Championship 2015 Women's Final: England vs. Netherlands Score, Recap". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  17. ^ a b c "Rio Olympics 2016: GB women win first hockey gold on penalties". BBC Sport. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  18. ^ Gibson, Owen. "Kate Richardson-Walsh: 'To win an Olympic medal with your wife next to you is so special'". The Guardian. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  19. ^ "Helen Richardson-Walsh - GB Hockey". www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-12-31. 
  20. ^ "Lewers and Hinch win UK hockey player of the year awards | Hockey Writers' Club". www.hockeywritersclub.com. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  21. ^ "Helen Richardson-Walsh wins Marjorie Pollard Salver | Hockey Writers' Club". www.hockeywritersclub.com. Retrieved 2017-03-11. 
  22. ^ "Simon Mason and Helen Richardson | Hockey Writers' Club". www.hockeywritersclub.com. Retrieved 2017-01-13. 
  23. ^ "Tickets please! - England Hockey". www.englandhockey.co.uk. Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  24. ^ "Awards Archive – 2016 Nottingham Sports Awards". 2016 Nottingham Sports Awards. Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  25. ^ Nottinghamshire, Sport. "Sports Person of the Year Finalists". Sport Nottinghamshire. Retrieved 2017-01-14. 
  26. ^ "New Year Honours list 2017: Andy Murray becomes Britain's youngest modern knight, plus who got what in the awards?". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-12-31. 
  27. ^ Wright, David (4 September 2013). "Reading's Olympic hockey stars Helen Richardson and Kate Walsh to marry". Get Reading. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 
  28. ^ "Rio 2016 hockey: Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh celebrate 'special' win". BBC Sport. 20 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016. 
  29. ^ "Rio Olympics: Helen Richardson-Walsh overcomes fitness problems to boost Great Britain's hockey hopes". Local Berkshire. 31 July 2016. Retrieved 28 August 2016. 
  30. ^ "Welcome to the Proud Lilywhites". Welcome to the Proud Lilywhites. Retrieved 2016-12-31. 

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