OLYMPIC gold medallist Giselle Ansley was ‘overwhelmed’ on her return to Plymouth Marjon Hockey Club on Wednesday night.
The Great Britain defender, who helped Team GB to their first women’s Olympic hockey title in Rio, started her career at Marjon before going to play for Loughborough Students and Surbiton.
Current juniors from Marjon turned out in force to meet her, while officials made her a life member of the club.
“I was totally overwhelmed,” she said. “When I was on the podium I didn’t get anywhere near tears, but I did today. Getting honorary life membership of the club where I pretty much learnt everything means a hell of a lot to me.
“Jackie Daw and Jamie Oxley taught me everything about hockey, along with my mum. So this club does mean a lot to me.
“To come back here and see so many kids on the pitch is phenomenal, especially as it was last minute when I said I was popping home.”
As well as visiting Plymouth Marjon Hockey Club, Ansley also popped into a number of schools in the city and the Life Centre.
The 24-year-old said: “It’s been an incredible day. I couldn’t believe it.
“I have been into a number of schools and the number of kids playing hockey is incredible. I can’t believe it.
“We wanted to inspire the future, even if that was just one person, but today I’ve seen hundreds.”
“It has been quite crazy, although I snuck off to New Zealand for a month so I escaped a little bit, but it is still going on now seven weeks later,” she said.
“The buzz about the Olympics and hockey is incredible and, hopefully, it can continue for a long time to come.”
Ansley, from Kingsbridge, might have an Olympic gold medal but she has no intention of resting on her laurels.
She would like to add another to her collection in Tokyo.
“I’m 24 so, hopefully, if I keep getting picked and keep training hard then maybe 2020,” she said. “But there’s a lot of other things in between that.
“There’s a lot of other tournaments and a lot of hard training. You can’t sit back and think that we’ve won it once we can do it again. You have to put all those hard hours in again.”