OLYMPICS LONDON 2012: Emotional Kerry coy on hockey future
By James Toney, Sportsbeat, London 2012
DANNY Kerry admitted he felt emotionally drained as he watched his women’s hockey team claim London 2012 Olympic bronze.
THE ROYAL WAVE: Kate Middleton cheers proudly as Team GB women's hockey players secured the county's first medal in 20 years
Kerry’s Britain delivered a royal command performance in front of their biggest royal fan.
The Duchess of Cornwall played hockey as a youngster and has visited Kerry’s team several times in their build-up to the Games.
And she was cheering proudly in the crowd at the Riverbank Arena before visiting the team in their dressing room as they celebrated winning Team GB’s first hockey medal in 20 years.
Alex Danson gave the hosts the lead nine minutes after the break with her fifth goal of the tournament, and further strikes from Crista Cullen and Sarah Thomas put Britain in control before New Zealand scored a late consolation goal.
And the mood couldn’t have been more contrasted with the glum expressions that followed their semi-final defeat to Argentina.
“I’m going to have to work hard to hold it together,” said Kerry. “It’s been a lot of hard work and the girls were so professional.
“I asked them to play a way that doesn’t suit us but is the best way to play against New Zealand. It’s seven and a half years of hard work coming to fruition out there.
“People talk about technique and tactics but people who win medals comes down to character and this time has got so much character.”
Kerry took over the side after their failure to qualify for Athens 2004 but admitted he nearly walked away from the role after hearing players complain about the way he managed the team at Beijing 2008, where Team GB finished sixth.
“When people tell you the truth your first reaction is denial and anger. I hope you get some sense of how much hard work it is,” he added.
“Every word and how you say it is very, very important. Things can unravel very quickly if you’re not striking the right chord at the right time.
“People really don’t understand the role of a head coach, they have absolutely no conception. They think it’s about hockey. That’s a given but it is the other stuff that sets you apart from all of the other coaches.
“Had I not had the experience that I’d had in Beijing we would not have medalled here. I can tell you that categorically.
“For most medallists it’s their second Games, there’s a huge statistic on that. I would say the same for coaches if they’re willing to look hard at themselves.”
However, he refused to discuss whether he would stay in the role for another Olympic cycle.
“I need to sleep. I am absolutely and utterly fried,” he said. “I just promised myself I wouldn’t make any decisions until I’ve had some time.
“Having said that, I’m only 41, I’ve done two Olympic Games, we’ve got our first medal and I’ve kind of got a taste for it now.”
© Sportsbeat 2012