It was all White on the light despite SPOTY Late Show
NICOLA White has admitted to “preparing for a big night” as the Great Britain women’s team turned the BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday night into their own version of the Late Show.
Viewers had to wait over 90 minutes before any glimpses of hockey, before the team came on stage and Kate Richardson-Walsh was interviewed ahead of her bid to win the main individual award.
Ultimately, there were no awards but the party was only just beginning for the rest of the squad – as made clear by Richardson-Walsh’s 4:30am tweet that she was eating crumpets with BBC presenter Clare Balding, who had also just been added to the team’s WhatsApp group after a night of dancing.
“As soon as we all saw each other backstage, the feeling was just great,” said White, who scored the vital goal to send the Olympic final into a shoot out. “It was a shame it was only now that it was the first time we were all back together, but you can’t help that.
“Not to be together for months after such a long awaited time, everyone knew it would be a good night and we were prepared for that.”
When The Hockey Paper spoke to White on Monday morning, it sounded as if she was feeling the effects of the afterafter party, but she then revealed that was suffering from a throat infection. “Everyone said it felt like you had a heavy night and I said ‘no, I’ve had half a beer!” she said.
White has deserved more than that since her return from Brazil. She has made over 70 public appearances since Rio with 35 of those being school visits in the Oldham area.
“I didn’t plan on it being that big,” she said. “I went back home but I thought it would be important for me to go back into schools.”
“When my Olympic dream started it came at school. I just felt it my
duty to bring some happiness back to Oldham. We have had the town being regenerated and it was a good time to use the inspiration side.
“It snowballed from having 10 schools booked in over three months to three schools per day. It’s been really tiring but worthwhile. Oldham hockey has told me that loads of juniors have gone down to train and for me that’s been the best thing.”
The quirks of Olympic team sport meant that Sunday night was also the last time they would likely be all together as a winning team.
“It’s sad but that’s what happens,” added White. “It happened after London and it’s emotional but we took it for what it was on Sunday night and reminiscing the summer meant that we enjoyed the moment.”
White will return to full time training next month but not before a rare excursion to the ski slopes after Christmas.
She said: “We don’t really get to ski. We probably shouldn’t really but it’s the only time we can is after an Olympic Games. Last Christmas I was hoping we could all go as a big family group, a sort of big celebration for this year, whatever was going to happen. Whether we had come first or last, it is a way of saying thank you to them all.”
Golden girls: L-R – Hollie Webb, Joie Leigh, Shona McCallin, Nicola White, Georgie Twigg, Lily Owsley, Maddie Hinch, Crista Cullen, Giselle Ansley and Alex Danson.
Getting the vote: Andy Murray is presented with his Sports Personality of the Year award by Lennox Lewis
Captain marvel: Kate RichardsonWalsh was up for the main individual SPOTY award