Creed: "I convinced myself I was going to Tokyo. I didn't give myself a chance to slip up"

Brendan Creed 2019 FIHPL GB v Australia
Back in October 2019, Brendan Creed’s dream of representing Great Britain at his first Olympic Games was in doubt.

He tore his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) during a EuroHockey League game for his club Surbiton and, with just over nine months until the Games were originally scheduled, it was going to be touch and go whether or not he’d be fit in time.

However, with Covid-19 postponing the event in Tokyo until next summer, the defender was gifted another year to ensure he was fully fit and back to his very best. But even before then, he never thought he wouldn’t be back in time to take part in the world’s greatest multi-sport event.

“I convinced myself that I was going to go to Tokyo so I didn’t give myself a chance to slip up on anything,” the 27-year-old explained. 

“Would I have made it back in time? I like to think I would have done because I was doing pretty well. 

“At the same time, has lockdown extended my career? Yeah for sure because of the stress of everything else. It’s a blessing for long term rather than short term so I guess on that front it’s been massively beneficial for me.”

Creed and his team-mates spent several months unable to train together due to the pandemic before returning to Bisham Abbey in June. 

They then trained as a full squad together for the first time in early September, with Creed returning to the pitch alongside his team-mates having nearly completed his rehab.

He said: “It’s pretty exciting to be back. It’s good, hard but much better than rehabbing I have to admit. 

“I wouldn’t say relieved, I was just ready to go. With lockdown and everything I was blessed with more time so I was just ready to go. 

“Stick-wise I was a bit off the pace but in terms of movements I didn’t feel too bad. It was more just excitement than anything else.”

Shortly before the country went into lockdown, Creed moved in with fellow GB players David Ames and Maddie Hinch. And while he was initially a bit worried that hockey may dominate their conversations, he said the dynamic of the household made a difficult situation much easier to deal with, especially with Hinch’s dog Willow providing plenty of entertainment.

“It was pretty chilled out. It was prerty good because we didn’t talk much hockey for four or five months which was pretty good for us – I think that was a potential danger as I was moving in,” he explained. 

“We managed to balance it really well. There was a lot of cooking, a lot of shared cooking, a lot of time spent away which is just ideal in that scenario. 

“I 100% bonded with Willow – how can you not? Luckily she’s stopped snoring so that makes life a lot easier!”

As for the immediate future, Creed is just looking forward to being able to get back playing again after such a long time out. With the England Hockey Premier Division beginning in just a few days and FIH Pro League games scheduled for late October and mid November, he’s chomping at the bit to get back doing what he loves once again.

He said: “Getting back to club stuff is a really big thing for me. Potentially playing in the FIH Hockey Pro League as well, I’ve got to get back into the squad for that. 

“So on that front I’m just looking forward to playing games, putting this injury to the back of my mind. I’m ready and raring to play.”