Middleton looking to make his own history

Barry Middleton celebrates scoring for GB

The last time a British Men’s Hockey team stood on an Olympic podium was back in 1988. Memories of Imran Sherwani, Sean Kerly and “Where were the Germans” live long in many people’s memories. Captain Barry Middleton, heading to his fourth games insists history is not a motivating factor for his side out in Rio.

“1988 gets mentioned a lot. It was a fantastic achievement and we’re happy they did what they did but we don’t sit here looking at it all the time. It’s not motivation for us.” says the Holcombe star. “The Olympics are more about having a pride in what we do. We want to achieve things for ourselves. We want to be the ones people are talking about in years to come.”

Middleton is his country’s most capped male player with over 350 international appearances under his belt. He is heading to his fourth Olympics and despite having been there, done it and quite literally got the t-shirt, there is a real determination about the skipper this time around.

“The first couple of Olympic Games were great experiences but we didn’t deep down think we could win it. London we went with a hope of winning it and this one we want to go there and achieve something. We aren’t just there to enjoy the food and the village; we are there to play hockey and to succeed like any other hockey tournament.”

The skipper commands the respect of each and every one of his peers both in the squad and within other teams, too. Middleton is a world class performer and a world class captain. His style of leadership is not the typical "British Bulldog, up and at ‘em" style of some of our other sporting teams. The lad from Doncaster prefers to lead by example instead:

“My leadership style is probably do as I do, not as I say. I don’t tell people to do anything I wouldn't do. I try and set the right example to them and hope people follow, then if people do step out of line you can drag them back in.” he adds “I don't think I'm a screamer or a shouter, or someone who gets in people's faces. I try and be tough when we have to be on certain things, but first and foremost, I focus on myself as well knowing that I've got to do my job right before we have to worry about everyone. If everyone's doing their job correctly, it actually means I don't have to do a lot.”

As always, Middleton will quietly go about his business and lead from the front. His team will follow and we hope that means following their skipper onto the top step of the podium!

Not long to go until the action gets underway. Be sure to visit the hockey pages on the official Rio 2016 site.

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