Rio 2016, Peaky Blinders & house-sharing - Maddie Hinch column

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'I've always just wanted to be the best at everything'

How do you cope with Olympic rejection? Who are the biggest characters in the Great Britain hockey squad? And what happens when three GB players share a house?

In her first column for BBC Sport, goalkeeper Maddie Hinch also talks about her delight at being named in the Team GB squad for the Rio Olympics four years after her "brutal" omission from London 2012.

Rio 2016 build-up: 'It was hard to avoid Tom Daley in his trunks'

When I sat down to write this piece, I thought about where my mind's at right now, and it's a real combination of emotions. This period is busy, exciting, a little nerve-wracking but really cool too. There's a lot of buzz with the Olympics so close.

From about 2013, we've had Rio in the back of our minds every single day. I reckon it's more than 1,200 days in which every single minute has been preparing for these games. It's crazy to think it's so close now, and when I saw all the stuff in the press about 100 days to go it really hit home - it was hard to avoid Tom Daley in his trunks.

The fulfilment of a childhood dream

Maddie Hinch
After learning she had been selected, Hinch looked back at some old photos of when she started to play in goal

It was a few days ago when we found out the squad for the Olympics, and it was decided as a group that we'd get the announcement by email so everyone could deal with it in their own way.

For me, my parents Catherine and Neil had come to see me play in the Netherlands so we stayed out there for a few more days until the email dropped. I absolutely wanted my parents with me because they were there when I didn't get in for London 2012 and they've seen every step of my journey.

When the email came through, the first thing we did was look back at photos of when I started playing, when I imagined how cool it would be to be an Olympian as a 12-year-old. I looked back on a school picture and compared it to a photo of us playing for GB defending a corner, and I just thought about how much has gone into it.

London omission was 'really hard to take'

There are 31 of us in the full-time central programme, but only 16 are going to Rio, plus three reserves. So a lot of great players and great people have missed out and I don't envy our coach Danny Kerry for having to make the call.

I know how everyone feels because I thought I had a chance in 2012 but missed out. Before the squad was named, we'd have inter-squad practice games in training - GB versus whoever - and I was always in the team called China. That made me think 'this isn't a good sign, I'm always China and never GB'.

It was brutal and really hard to take. The girls who missed out this time around have handled it brilliantly.

Maddie Hinch and her goalkeeping kit
Hinch has to wear plenty of protective kit and says it has turned her run into a waddle: "I am quicker over five metres with all of it on than without. I run the same way without it on now."

The 'International Relations Athlete', the 'proper northerner' and a 'complete airhead'

With selection on people's minds, you might think they would be a bit quieter, but if anything their characters came to the fore even more.

In terms of personalities, Susannah Townsend is definitely at the front. She was on the BBC in an ice bath with Mike Bushell a few weeks ago, which sums her up. We call her our International Relations Athlete because she knows somebody on every team and when we've got a question on our team WhatsApp group we go to her.

There's a few lurkers on there, too. Our coach Danny can't understand why he's not on the group but it seems pretty clear to me. Susannah also runs our team Instagram @GBWomensHockey so she is always in the thick of it.

Steph Elliott never shuts up, she's the best girl ever and a proper northerner. Lily Owsley's a complete airhead. Zoe Shipperley is so down to earth and everyone loves her. Helen Richardson-Walsh is a real character, although everyone's scared of her at first.

We have a laugh, but when things need to be said, we say it, and on the pitch we know when it's time to focus. We're led by Kate Richardson-Walsh, our captain. Both her and Helen are going to a fourth Olympics this summer so we know we can lean on them so much.

Relaxing with Peaky Blinders & Made In Chelsea

Maddie Hinch at home
As well as Peaky Blinders, Geordie Shore and Made In Chelsea, there is plenty of sport watched chez Hinch

I share a house with Lily Owsley, GB men's player David Ames and another former athlete from winter sport, and they understand what professional sport can be like. In the past we've had people from 'real life' and understandably they want to go out, whereas we're a bit boring.

With training being so full on, at home we're only being encouraged to chill, so I'm on a good few box sets right now. Peaky Blinders is really good - myself and my team-mate Joie Leigh are hooked. If not that, it's classic MTV reality shows, shamefully - either Catfish or Geordie Shore. I'm also going to stitch David up and say he absolutely loves it too. Obviously Made In Chelsea means Mondays are sorted as well. I'm pretty sure one of my team-mates knows Spencer Matthews but I'll leave them to explain that for themselves...

I want to talk about winning an Olympic medal

Maddie Hinch
"Wave 1 Me 0" wrote Maddie after she got a soaking while in Australia earlier this year

Being an Olympian is cool, but I want to be back on here after the Games talking about having won a medal.

We have just finished fifth at the Champions Trophy in London, which we saw as a medal chance missed. Just a few fine margins were the difference but when we've had a disappointment before we've gone on to do better in the next tournament, so fingers crossed it was sign for the summer. All of us believe we can medal in Rio.

Maddie is competing for Great Britain this summer. Read more from her on the BBC Sport website on the road to Rio.

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