Courage rewarded for Brit hockey skipper

Great Britain women's hockey captain Kate Walsh thought her home Olympics were over in the opening pool game when a stray stick smashed her jaw, requiring surgery to insert a plate.

She missed just two pool games, but she was back on the pitch within six days, wearing an unflattering brace and with unwavering confidence.

"There was no stopping me," she said, and nobody could.

In Britain's last match on Friday, Walsh, the captain for nine years, dived for loose balls, blocked a New Zealand penalty corner with her body, stymied attacks, and set up two penalty corner goals in a 3-1 win to help win the bronze, Britain's first women's hockey medal in 20 years.

Coach Danny Kerry had been the subject of scathing criticism of his management in the players' review after the team finished sixth in Beijing.

"If I had not had the experience I had in Beijing, we would not have medaled here," he said as Walsh nodded beside him. Winners have character, Kerry added, the ability to overcome adversity.

"Kate's a wonderful example of that. People who succeed in life are people who keep coming back," he said.

After applauding the victory from the stands, the Duchess of Cambridge, a former high school hockey captain, met Britain in their changing room to congratulate them.

Kate Middleton also gave Walsh a hug and told her how brave she was in defence. But all Walsh wanted to talk with the duchess about were her clothes.

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