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Name:- Helen Richardson
Date of Birth:- 23/09/81
Great Britain midfielder Helen Richardson admits gold was a word some of the squad found difficult to mention three years ago.
Now, as the 16-strong group begin their final preparations for this summer's Olympics, it has become their primary focus.
After five bronze medals and one silver in various world-level competitions since 2009 the Reading midfielder believes the mindset has changed considerably.
"When we came together in 2009 for the central programme we had to push some boundaries in some people's thoughts," Richardson told Press Association Sport. "Some people struggled to say the word gold and we had to shift our belief within the group. That is definitely one of the biggest things that defines how far we have come. We go into games against the big teams knowing we are on a level playing field and we have as good a chance of beating them as they have of beating us. Even further than that, we feel if we play to our absolute potential then we are confident of winning those matches. On the flip side, when we are playing teams lower ranked than us we don't get complacent because we have been that team before and gotten results from bigger sides. It is important to have a similar mindset whoever you are playing."
Leicester midfielder Chloe Rogers backed up her team-mate's assertion that things have altered considerably within the camp.
"In 2009 we were a long way off challenging for medals," said the 27-year-old. "We had finished in last place at the Champions Trophy having lost 7-0 to China and we were a long way from where we wanted to be. Being together and training together full-time day in, day out has made such a difference and results have improved and we have been challenging for medals the last few years. Now there is belief and positivity going into the summer that we can challenge for a gold. It is a combination of training together and showing in our performances that we can actually do it."
Key Olympic Dates
Sunday July 29th
Time:- 19.00 Preliminary Round Group A vs Japan
Tuesday July 31st
Time:- 16.00 Preliminary Round Group A vs Korea
Thursday August 2nd
Time:- 19.00 Preliminary Round Group A vs Belgium
Saturday August 4th
Time:- 16.00 Preliminary Round Group A vs China
Monday August 6th
Time:- 19.00 Preliminary Round Group A vs Netherlands
Wednesday August 8th Semi-Final
Date:- Friday August 10th – Finals and Medal
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