Kate Richardson-Walsh: BBC Sports Personality 2016 contender

Kate Richardson-Walsh
BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016
Date: Sunday, 18 December. Venue: Genting Arena, Birmingham. Time: 18:40-21:00 GMT. Coverage: BBC One, Radio 5 live, BBC Sport website

We are showcasing each of the 16 contenders in the run-up to the Sports Personality of the Year award on 18 December. Today - Kate Richardson-Walsh and Nick Skelton.

Kate Richardson-Walsh - Age: 36 Sport: Hockey

Year in a nutshell

Captained Great Britain's women to a historic first Olympic gold medal - winning a penalty shoot-out against the Netherlands.

Chosen as GB flagbearer for the closing ceremony, the Mancunian played alongside wife Helen as they became the first same-sex married couple to win Olympic gold in the same final.

After Rio, she retired from international duty after a record 375 appearances, 49 goals and 13 years as England and GB skipper.

How did she get here?

Kate Richardson-Walsh
Kate Richardson-Walsh was awarded an MBE in 2015 for services to hockey

As a junior, Walsh swam with Stockport Metro - a club which has produced several Olympic medallists in the pool.

But hockey took over from the age of 13 and the central defender rose through the ranks before making her international debut six years later.

Captained Britain to bronze at London 2012 despite having her jaw broken in the opening match.

She missed just two games, returning to action with a protective mask and a metal plate in her face.

That was only a second ever Olympic medal for GB's women, and there was more to celebrate in London last year when she led England to a first European title for 24 years.

Rio was a fourth Olympic Games for Richardson-Walsh, who also has two Commonwealth Games silver medals and one bronze.

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GB win hockey gold

What she said: "It has taken so much hard work and it means absolutely everything."

What you say

Helen Fenner: "There is only one person for #SPOTY and that person is Kate Richardson-Walsh - a legend and professional, leading TeamGB hockey to gold."

Michele Jacques: "Time to vote for #SPOTY, let's get Kate Richardson-Walsh to the top spot for her fantastic leadership."

Katy Stanlake: "KRW - the most amazing role model. How many other athletes return to compete so soon after being smashed in the jaw? She did in 2012."

Sports Personality record: No hockey player has ever taken the main award, although Britain's men won team of the year in 1988 after clinching Olympic gold.

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BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2016: Kate Richardson-Walsh on career high

Get Inspired

Hockey is a sport that requires dexterity, skill and cardiovascular fitness. There are variations of the game for everyone, regardless of age, ability or gender.

To find out more on how to get into hockey, visit the Get Inspired website.