Feature | Hockey

Rio champ Susannah Townsend: Being in Tokyo would be my best career achievement

A long injury layoff after winning gold at Rio 2016 has motivated the midfielder to fight for Olympic selection and chase a second title at Tokyo 2020

By Sanjeev Palar ·

Susannah Townsend was on a high after winning gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

It was an historic moment for Great Britain as they clinched their maiden Olympic women's hockey title.

"To win an Olympic gold medal, it's a dream that you always have. Especially if you are an Olympic sport. And for me to see the impact it had on my family probably my most emotional bit." - Susannah Townsend to Olympic Channel

In an interview with Olympic Channel, the Team GB star shared how the high of that moment left her questioning what was next, "Don't get me wrong, it is the best feeling in the whole world." she added,

"But it also left me with a feeling of, "Will anything ever be enough?", almost."

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Under the surgeon's knife

The midfielder knew that upon her return to England following Rio 2016 she would need to have surgery that had been put off until after the Games.

Eventually she bit the bullet and had the knee operation that left her sidelined for a year.

However, it was during this period of being away from the game, that Townsend discovered how much hockey meant to her and found new motivation to continue playing.

"It gave me the focus that I needed. It gave me something to train for." she shared.

"I had no desire to retire at that point, but it definitely gave me a focus."

Susannah Townsend is aiming to make Great Britain's Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad

Townsend is now back on the team and fighting for her spot on the Tokyo 2020 squad, which the 31-year-old admits will be the perfect way to call time on her career.

Especially if she can help Great Britain to become only the third women's hockey team in Olympic history to win back-to-back titles.

"We said we want to go from winning to winning. And I promise you, hand on heart I would not be here if I didn't think we could." - Susannah Townsend

"It's been the hardest four years of my career, without a doubt.

"And the feeling of going through that and then lining up singing the national anthem at another Olympics will undoubtedly, I think, be the proudest moment of my life."

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