Sunday, December 10, 2023

Recalling GB’s 1996 Olympics: Scary flights, golf and questions on skirts

GB Hockey Olympian Calum Giles recalls the build-up to the 1996 Atlanta Games, via Tobago

Calum Giles recalls the unique and unrivalled experiences of playing for Great Britain hockey at an Olympic Games in the first of a two-part travelogue

In 1996, the men’s Olympic hockey team selected for the Atlanta Olympics sat in a room at Bisham Abbey and waited for members of the 1988 Olympic gold medal-winning team to enter. These British hockey heroes had been asked to talk to the squad about their own experiences, in order to help us prepare for what was to come in just a few short weeks.

I listened intently and took everything in, my mind racing. Listening to Sean Kerly and Ian Taylor telling their stories was surreal, it didn’t seem that long ago that I had watched them on television as a 15-year-old boy, dreaming of playing for Great Britain myself one day.

The pictures they created with their stories morphed effortlessly with images my mind had begun to create of my own future Olympic experience.

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Calum Giles runs Stickwise, home of accessible premier field hockey camps for children aged 5-14

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