Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh appear on My Icon: Rainbow Laces
Watch Helen and Kate on My Icon - available On Demand
Last Updated: 25/11/17 8:49pm
Team sports have always been welcoming environments for both Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh, ever since they were young girls.
In a new interview for Sky Sports' My Icon series, the Olympic gold medal-winning hockey players talk about growing up and how they started out on the road to glory in Rio last summer.
To mark Rainbow Laces weekend, they also discuss how their friendship developed into a relationship nine years ago - they were subsequently married in 2013 - and why they take pride in being role models for other lesbian, gay and bisexual people who hope to achieve their own sporting ambitions through authenticity.
My Icon: Rainbow Laces
Find out more about the new series of interviews putting the focus on LGBT people in sport
Helen describes how hockey was always her arena to 'be herself', particularly when she was struggling to accept her own sexuality as a young woman.
"It was something I grappled with, and ignored - and just carried on with my life," she says. "That's why sport was so great for me. It was my safe place, and where I thought I could really be me."
Kate had to break off her engagement with her then fiance when the close bond she had forged with Helen blossomed into love.
"My first relationship with a woman was with Helen, and that started in 2008. Before that, I'd only dated men," Kate tells My Icon.
In society, we like to put people into boxes. And if you don't fit in a very specific pigeonhole, people can find it strange.
"I'd had lots of lesbian and gay people in my life, but I'd never questioned it of myself.
"For me, it's just a question of who you fall in love with, and who you have a connection with, and it could be a man or a woman. Those connections grow over time.
"That can be quite confusing for people. In society, we like to put people into boxes. And if you don't fit in a very specific pigeonhole, people can find it strange."
Don't miss the Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh interview in full on My Icon. All episodes are available on Demand.