Southampton hockey star Alex Danson is now eyeing a gold medal at the Rio Olympics 2016 after narrowly missing out on the top prize at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
Danson admits that over time she’ll be proud of the silver medal she won at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, but is hoping that knowing the feeling of being so close to gold but missing out on it will drive her and her teammates on in Brazil in two years time.
The England team were just 11 seconds away from claiming a famous gold medal before it was cruelly taken away from them by Australia, who equalised and went on to win the final on penalties.
The runners-up spot in Scotland followed on from a bronze with Team GB at the London Olympics in 2012.
“It’s a huge cliché but you learn more in defeat than you do in victory,” she said. “We don’t ever want to be in that position ever again.
“If we do nothing else in the next two years but target that mindset of what we have to do in those closing stages of a match and get it right in Rio then, actually, losing that final may have given us more than winning might have ever done.
“We’ve won lots of bronze medals but losing your last game and getting silver, even though it’s better than bronze, just doesn’t feel good.”
On the subject of the Olympic Games in 2016, Danson said: “We have such a sense of belief and I think we have what it takes to go one step further and get gold in Rio.
“We have an incredible programme of staff and facilities in place. That elusive gold would be wonderful. My desire to play is still strong and hopefully I get picked for the Games.”
Danson has had time reflect on her experiences in Glasgow and is slowly growing proud of the silver medal, while looking forward to the challenges ahead.
“It was heartbreaking to miss out on gold,” the 29-year-old former Trojans player said.
“We’ve had such a disappointing start to the summer after the World Cup.
“And if anyone had said to us eight weeks ago: you’ll be fighting it out for a gold medal in Glasgow, I would have bitten off their arms off.
“Over time we’ll feel proud of what we did.
“It will feel raw for a long time but we will learn to look back on it in a good light.
“Glasgow was amazing but to lose a gold medal with a 11 seconds to go was just devastating. We had such a good game plan and with 20 seconds left to go, it’s wrong, but you think you’ve got it.
“So you have to have a period of time to look back and reflect.
“It’s really important to try and take something from that tournament that will be of value to us in the future.
“We’ll reflect on Glasgow and the World Cup, which was obviously hugely disappointing, and we’ll have a new coach coming in at the beginning of September.”
Already Danson and her teammates are turning their attention to the next competition, which is the Champions Trophy in Argentina, where the top eight teams on the planet will go head-to-head.
“We’ve got that tournament and then the Europeans and the Olympic qualifiers next year,” she said.
“That will come round so quickly, so it’s nice currently just to have some time off and take stock.”