Nicola White was part of the Team GB hockey squad which became one of the many stars of Rio 2016 by beating the world’s best on penalties to claim gold on a barmy night for British Sport. Here, she talks about her Olympic experience and what could lie in store next.
Eight weeks after winning an Olympic gold medal, I teamed up with Happy Creative for the day to give me an insight into life after sport and experience whether this could be my next potential career path.
Although this is only one of a handful of experiences I have gained outside of the athlete “bubble”.
I have been a Great Britain hockey player for eight years and have adapted to the highly intense, competitive and unique lifestyle you must embrace to be able to make it to the top. We certainly do live in what athlete’s call a “bubble” which is an environment built by the values and behaviours we collectively choose as a group of 31 girls and staff.
Essentially it creates a virtual barrier between us and the outside world and makes our programme very close knit and focused on the visions we want to achieve together. This feeling is at its most powerful during such a notorious tournament like the Olympic Games and one that makes the experience even more special.
Not only are we close as a GB hockey team, the bubble expands to being part of Team GB at an Olympics. You meet so many other amazing athletes and are part of something so much bigger. The mutual respect and camaraderie builds throughout and you feel support from the whole camp. Every success was shared and celebrated, and it certainly inspired each and every one of us.
Stepping out of this bubble you realise the scale of impact back home with supporters of all ages, genders, backgrounds and religions. Great Britain unites and the buzz is just an incredible feeling to come home to. You go from weeks of being emotionally suppressed with one sole job in hand, to pure celebrations and no boundaries, it really hits home just how unique our world is. I love to share this world with others, but to maintain grounded and inspire others I will tell them, “It’s just ordinary people, doing extraordinary things”.
So, after completing two Olympic cycles, naturally it is sensible to start to consider alternative careers for life after sport and visiting Happy Creative gave me an opportunity to gain first hand what the working world looks and feels like.
I was surprised at how many skills I have learnt through sport and in particular our elite training programme, that overlap and I can relate to. The team was so welcoming, energetic and experienced and they really do live up to their name, Happy Creative.
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