Same Sex Married Couple a First for This Summer’s Olympics
British field hockey teammates Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh: together on and off the field
Not only will this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Brazil have a record amount of openly LGBTQ competitors, it will also mark the first Olympic Games ever to have a same sex married couple competing in it.
Kate Richardson-Walsh and Helen Richardson-Walsh, who are British field hockey teammates, have been playing on teams together since they were children. This summer will be the fourth time that they’ve competed in the Olympic Games together, but it will be the first Olympic Games that they will be married to each other while they’re competing.
enjoying life together both on and off the field
Even though they’ve been teammates for over a decade, Kate and Helen didn’t begin dating until 2008; shortly after the Beijing Olympics. The two went on to marry each other in 2013, and invited all of their teammates to celebrate with them at their wedding in Oxfordshire.
They have received a lot of positive support from their family members and teammates. Kate told a BBC reporter in May of 2014 that, "I feel quite proud that I was brought up around hockey, where there have been lots of different ethnicities, religions, sexualities and so on. It's normal, and I feel proud of that.”
Even though they have the support of their teammates, they still like to keep their professional and private lives separate. Kate went on to further say in her BBC interview that, “We're very professional in that we draw a line and when we're at hockey we are Kate and Helen, hockey players and team-mates. Away from hockey we're Kate and Helen the couple. It's important that line is drawn and to be able to say to each other 'that's not good enough', and not start having a row about it afterwards.”
making history in sports and life
Being the first married LGBTQ couple to compete at the Olympics isn’t the first time Kate Richardson-Walsh and Helen Richardson Walsh have made history. Back in 2012 at the London Olympics, their team won Great Britain’s first Olympic medal in hockey in over two decades when they took home the bronze medal.
Unfortunately, in 2014 two back surgeries left Helen afraid that she may never be able to compete again. She wasn’t sure if her body would be able to cope with all of the bending and twisting. But Helen is back competing, and this time she’s gunning for gold.
“There were many days when I thought I wasn’t going to be able to do it, but since I came back in January 2015, I’ve not missed a session.” Helen told the press, “We won bronze in London and that was amazing, but ever since I’ve played this sport I’ve wanted to be a champion; And I want to give it everything for Rio to try to do that.”
Kate Richardson-Walsh and Helen Richardson-Walsh are set to play with their team in their first preliminary game of the 2016 Olympics today (August 8, 2016) at 5pm against India.
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