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Olympic Games 2016

First married gay couple to compete in Olympics eye women's hockey gold

Helen Richardson-Walsh of Britain celebrates  after scoring her team's second goal during quaterfinal match versus Spain at the Rio Olympics.
Helen Richardson-Walsh of Britain celebrates after scoring her team's second goal during quaterfinal match versus Spain at the Rio Olympics. Reuters/Vasily Fedosenko

Married couple Kate and Helen Richardson-Walsh are aiming to cap their personal journey with sporting glory at the Olympics by helping Britain to a first women's hockey gold medal.

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The pair tied the knot in 2013 and are believed to be the first married gay couple to compete at an Olympics.

Helen was instrumental in getting her team to the gold medal match against two-time champions the Netherlands by scoring one of the goals in a 3-0 semi-final win over New Zealand on Wednesday.

"It would be really special to win the gold," Kate told the AFP news agency. "We've been through ups and downs. These past four years have been some of the best and some of the worst, some of the hardest. Helen, with two back surgeries, to come back having thought she'd never play again, to be here in an Olympic final -- I think it's just the most amazing story and I'm just so proud of her."

Kate and Helen have been international teammates since 2000 but they have made a point of making sure their private and professional lives don't overlap.

"We're very professional in that we draw a line. When we're at hockey we are Kate and Helen, hockey players and teammates," she explained on the eve of the Games.

At the 2012 London Olympics in 2012, where Britain were bronze medallists, Kate played with a metal plate in her face after having her jaw fractured.

After the Rio Games, the couple are set to move to the Netherlands to play in the relatively lucrative Dutch club leagues.

The Dutch team in the final are coached by Alyson Annan, the only woman coach at the hockey tournament. Last year, she replaced her ex-husband Maximilian Caldas.

Caldas coached the Dutch women to the gold medal at the London Olympics.

Their marriage ended in 2000 before Annan formed a new relationship with former player Carole Thate.

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