Kate Richardson-Walsh has been selected as Team GB's closing ceremony flagbearer for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The four-time Olympian, who led Great Britain women's hockey team to glory, was nominated to lead the team out at the Maracana Stadium after a decision by a British Olympic Association panel headed by Chef de Mission Mark England.
The 36-year-old, who made her Olympic debut at Sydney 2000, helped Team GB to a bronze medal in London four years ago and inspired the team to gold against a much-fancied Dutch side in Rio. Richardson-Walsh admitted the nomination has made her feel "incredibly proud".
"There are so many athletes here who have achieved great things in Rio and I'm incredibly surprised and excited to carry the flag this evening," she explained in a statement. "I'm very aware of the magnitude of this honour having been part of this magnificent team who have just excelled in so many ways and in so many sports.
"There are so many fantastic multi-Olympians and multi-medallists here I feel it's such a huge honour for me and for hockey as a sport."
Team GB's women's hockey team upset the odds to win gold in Rio, defeating the defending champions the Netherlands in a dramatic penalty shootout. Richardson-Walsh said she has enjoyed a "fairy tale ending" to her Olympic journey.
"However much you talk about working hard and believing that your dreams will come true, when it actually happens you still have to pinch yourself. It's just been an amazing few weeks here," she shared.
"What the whole team has done here has been infectious. The professionalism, attention to detail and real British spirit that every athlete has brought to their performances has culminated in this record-breaking achievement. It's just the most special and supportive place to be. I will certainly miss it and hope it is an environment that will continue for many Olympic Games to come."