Oldham hockey hero Nicola White drops in to speak to college students

Date published: 19 September 2018

Oldham’s Olympic gold medalist Nicola White has been speaking to students at Oldham College, in a bid to inspire them to get active.

Nicola, 30, won gold with the women’s hockey team in Rio in 2016 – with a dramatic penalty shoot-out win over the Netherlands.

She scored the goal that took the game to penalties, equalizing after 53 minutes to make the score 3-3.

Sophie Bray and Hollie Webb then scored the decisive penalties to win the Olympic gold.

Nicola spoke to students on Wednesday lunchtime, telling them about how she got involved in the sport and the positive effect it’s had on her life.

Speaking to the Oldham Chronicle, she said: “I’m not trying to inspire people here today to be an Olympic athlete or become a fitness guru or anything like that.

“But it is about the grassroots and that real fundamental need to be active and healthy to live a long and happy life.

“When I was their age, hockey and athletics were my two main sports that I was pursuing.

“Hockey was taking the edge – I enjoyed it a little bit more because of the team element.

“I feel like it gave me a bit of a purpose and I felt like I could be myself. I got a big kick out of that.

“I felt like I could be myself on the pitch, and [it probably helped that] I was good at it.

“At their age, it was a tricky time. It was almost make or break for me. I almost quit because things weren’t going very well.

“But it still gave me a lot and it still gave me a massive kick out of playing sport.”

She told the Oldham students that playing sport used to be looked down upon, but that now many people realise it can give them the sorts of skills they need to succeed.

She added: “There’s so many good things about sport.

“In essence, you learn so much about yourself and the skills you learn through sport are actually really transferable.

“For a future career path, employers will look at it really well - knowing that you’ve been able to apply yourself in that kind of environment.

“Sport has many positives – it’s not just the physical element, but how you can develop yourself.”

Nicola showed off her medal to the students, and told them what it was like to receive the Olympic gold.

She stopped for photos afterwards and chatted about her experiences in Rio.

Nicola was also part of the Team GB women’s field hockey side that won Bronze in the London games in 2012.