Hannah Macleod plays hockey for Great Britain and was part of the London 2012 bronze winning Team GB.
Why and how did you get into hockey?
I loved team sports when I was a kid, probably because I was very shy and hated the perceived attention of competing in individual sports. I was pretty co-ordinated and athletic so enjoyed a range of sports. Growing up with two brothers meant football was my first love. Unfortunately, girls were banned from playing at my primary school which meant my involvement was curtailed at an early age. In secondary school I was introduced to hockey in a P.E lesson. My teacher played at a local club and after watching me in a lesson encouraged me to join and the journey started from there.
What’s the training schedule like?
The year before an Olympic Games is incredibly intense and a little stressful! It’s just not sustainable for athletes or coaching staff so we have returned to a slightly ‘normal’ training schedule before the build-up starts all over again! This involves 5 two hour pitch sessions a week, three 90 minute gym session, injury prevention work, yoga and a whole lot of meetings. Monday – Friday are full on but the weekends tend to be lighter.
What’s been your greatest sporting achievement so far?
Representing Team GB at London 2012 and winning a Bronze medal was a dream I had since the age of 8 when I recall watching the Barcelona Olympics on TV. It was an unbelievable and mind blowing journey with so many set-backs and extreme highs and lows, and every emotion you can imagine. This is what we love about sport! The actual Olympics was all about getting down to business and doing the job we had all worked so hard towards. Playing 7 games in 11 days just flew by and then it was all over in a flash. I feel content that I achieved my lifelong dream but you quickly set a new target and move on. I sometimes get the medal out to check that it did really happen but I don’t spend too long reflecting. I guess that’s the competitive streak in me.
How have you found it being a woman in sport?
It’s interesting playing in a sport that’s traditionally seen as female yet there is more funding, sponsorship and media exposure in men’s hockey. Looking back to when I was banned from playing football at school because it was a ‘boys’ sport, times have changed enormously. The response we’ve received since winning an Olympic medal has been very positive and I think certain media have probably found it quite refreshing to talk to a women’s team sport for a change!
Why do you think media coverage of women’s sport is important?
Media coverage of women’s sport is essential to provide female role models for aspiring athletes and to any female wanting to take part in sport without prejudice.
Hannah is an Athlete Supporter of the Women’s Sports Trust. More information on the trust can be found at womenssportstrust.com