Beth Storry: "Fine margins will decide Olympic Final"

Beth Storry in GB action

The biggest match in Great Britain’s hockey history since 1988 is all set for 9pm tonight. Danny Kerry’s side face off against the Netherlands in the Olympic Final with the most coveted medal in hockey up for grabs.

Beth Storry was the GB goalkeeper at two Olympics, Beijing and London, the latter where she collected a bronze medal. The former No1 knows all about playing in the big games, describing the Olympics as “strange” in many ways.  

“You try really hard to treat it as another game but when you see the rings, the pitch and everything you do get that feeling of “Oh my god, this is the Olympics.” You have to try not to hype the Olympics. There’s plenty of hype around it already. Danny Kerry will be stressing to the girls that it’s all process process process.”

Having played in her share of medal matches, including the bronze medal clash with New Zealand four years ago, Storry offers a unique insight into how the players will have felt in the build up to the match:

“I know they will have treated every game like any other. Nerves is probably the wrong word, it's more anticipation. You just want to get out there and get going. Once you’ve had your first touch, your first feel of the ball you settle into the match and the nerves are gone.” she adds. “It’s the pinnacle of hockey but you just have to act like it’s any other tournament. At London I found I was fine during the games but it was more when you go to bed at night that your mind starts racing. You start thinking that you could win an Olympic medal and what it’ll be like. That’s when it’s hard to control those thoughts. Once you get to game mode, you’re focused. No doubt the team will be no different tonight.”

Storry in action at London 2012

In the build up the match, the former Reading and Kampong stopper paid tribute to Head Coach Danny Kerry:

“It’s funny because when I was in the squad I sort of took Danny for granted. It’s only now in hindsight that I realise his greatest asset is his ability to get the best out of a unit. There’s plenty of quality in the team but Danny is so meticulous in getting them to buy into the team ethic and the unit, in making them become a strong collective. It wasn’t until I left the group that I truly appreciated the power that he gave us as a group. It’s really special.” she adds “He’ll praise you when you do well but he’s always striving to make you better, too. There’s no let up with Danny which is why he’s where he is and why his teams do so well. That ability to get his teams to buy into what he’s doing is crucial.”

What of tonight’s opponents, the Netherlands? They are a nation Storry knows well after her stints in club hockey over in Holland. She rightly says they have “been there and done it” and the game will be decided by the “finest of margins”. When all’s said and done, who does the former GB No1 back to pick up the gold?  

“It’ll be a really good game. GB are playing really great fast, skilful clinical hockey. The gap between the top sides is so small these days it really will be a tight game. That’s how it should be, it’s an Olympic final. If you pushed me I’d say Great Britain will win by a goal. I’ll be supporting them all the way!”

Tune in to BBC One tonight to see GB make history with a guaranteed best-ever finish in the women's competition at the Olympics. You can also follow all the action via our Twitter feed.

alex danson Final graphic