An incredible year

Hollie Webb 480

She is an Olympic Gold medallist, Strictly Come Dancing star, Freewoman of Amber Valley, awarded an honorary degree from the University of Derby and now an MBE.

It is fair to say Hollie Webb has had a pretty exciting year, with award after award pouring in all the time. With the dust settling on an incredible period in her life and her trophy cabinet bursting at the seams we took some time out to speak to the Olympic gold medal winner, who will be appearing at the Super 6s this Sunday at the SSE Arena Wembley to meet the fans who have been so inspired by her feats.

No conversation with Webb can begin without mentioning that magic night in Rio. Yet surprisingly the Great Britain defender says much of the game remains a mystery to her: 

“A few days after I got back I watched the final and there are bits of it I just didn’t remember. I only remember the end really. I was interested to see what happened but it’s weird how much of the game is a blur and that I missed.”

Of course one clip stands alone above the others as the iconic moment Webb despatched the ball past the Netherlands goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek to clinch the gold has been played time and again since that memorable night:

“That clip has been played so many times but I’m not bored of watching it. I pause for a bit after it goes in where I’m making sure it’s a goal, then everything went crazy. It was amazing!”

Webb’s moment in the sun was a culmination of all her hard work; but since she came back she has been working hard to inspire people all across the land. She has visited countless schools and clubs and been blown away by the impact of an Olympic gold medal on the nation:

“Everybody, whether they’re a hockey fan or not seems to have watched that game. I’ve visited so many clubs and schools and seeing so many people getting in to hockey or back into hockey because of that night is what’s struck me the most. It’s changed the sport and had an effect on so many people.”

As well as transforming the nation, Webb’s life has been transformed too. Awarded the freedom of her native Amber Valley, an honorary degree from the University of Derby and eye-catchingly, she was also a contestant on BBC Children in Need’s Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing.

Hollie Webb on BBCCIN Strictly

“I didn’t even think about it, just said yes straight away. My Mum and my Gran love the show they’d have been horrified if I’d turned it down. It was a great experience. The training was so different. Mentally it’s hard to focus that long and physically it’s so different to hockey. It was so terrifying. It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been. Much more nerve wracking than the shootout. That was well within my comfort zone!” 

To top off a phenomenal time, Webb was awarded an MBE alongside her team mates in the New Year’s Honours.

“My boyfriend opened the letter whilst I was driving. He told me there was a letter from the cabinet office. I work for the government so I thought it was from the office and thought “oh god, what have I done?”

He opened it but wouldn’t tell me what I was because he was in shock. Then he said I was an MBE and I was relieved I wasn’t in trouble with work! I just couldn’t believe it. It’s so amazing.”

The temptation would be to rest on her laurels, but anyone who knows Webb will know that’s not how she is. Something she confirms when asked what is next:

“Straight after the Olympics I was so happy but I was excited about going to do it again. I am so motivated to go out in Tokyo and win it again. And between Tokyo and now there are so many things I want to achieve like the Women’s World Cup at home in 2018. There are loads of things I want to win and I’m so hungry for success. I’ve had a taste but I want more.”

Webb and her team mates will be signing autographs at the Super 6s finals day this Sunday at the SSE Arena Wembley. If you haven’t got your ticket yet, hurry, they’re selling fast! Click here for all the details!