Seoul Glow: Richard Dodds

Seoul Glow
In an extract taken from Seoul Glow, a new book about Great Britain's golden success in 1988, the Great Britain captain Richard Dodds reveals the difficulties of holding down a full-time job with elite hockey.

Leading up to Seoul, Dr Richard Dodds was a busy dual-career athlete on the brink. 

"It was a case of whether I could do another four-year term. We never really talked about it but if you looked at the other older members of the team, if they had competed in 1980 and 1984, they probably wouldn’t have done Seoul."

During Easter 1988, Self summoned Dodds and told him he couldn't combine orthopaedic surgery and hockey. 

"He was right, I was getting tired and didn't have any rest period by either training or playing and no downtime."

So Self contacted Dodds' consultants to assess his future. "The senior one was very supportive but was on holiday when I had to sort out my Olympic plan."

Dodds went along to his meeting with the second senior consultant less enamoured with his plans, thinking he would resign if he failed to get his wishes. "I wanted no night duty and three afternoons off a week. He said 'fine' and I nearly fell off my chair."

Dodds worked part-time for the final three months before the squad travelled out to their pre-Games holding camp, enabling him to gain much-needed rest. The only stipulation came from the consultant who said that if he saw Great Britain's captain still at the hospital after 12:30pm midweek, he wanted to know why. 

"If I hadn't have done that, I wouldn't be able to manage it," adds Dodds.

Training at Bisham Abbey during the week also saw Dodds given rare time off at night to recuperate. Living near Haslemere at the time, Dodds used a nearby hill up a foot path by day. 

"It used to take me 55 seconds to run flat out up the hill and I would walk back down with three minutes in between each shuttle. I would do eight of them and one day this little lady was walking her dog and I passed her three times on the way up. 

"On my last one, when I was on my knees at the top, she stopped and said 'Can I ask you what you're doing?' I told her I was training to go to the Olympics in four weeks’ time. 'Well, thank goodness for that, I just thought you were completely mad!'" 

Seoul Glow: The Story Behind Britain's First Olympic Hockey Gold By Rod Gilmour (Pitch Publishing). Available from all good stockists now.