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Brunel's Kate flies Team GB flag

Kate Richardson-WalshB

Gold-winning Olympic hockey captain and one-time Brunel student Kate Richardson-Walsh led Britain into the carnival closing ceremony.

An estimated one billion TV viewers watched as the former sport sciences student carried the Union Jack into Rio’s Maracana stadium.

The Brunel University London fellow, 36 was picked after an epic penalty shoot-out win over champions, Holland.

“I feel incredibly proud to have been chosen,” she said. “I feel it’s such a huge honour for me and for hockey as a sport.”

Kate MBE, along with her wife and team mate Helen Richardson-Walsh, 34 also made history as the first same-sex couple to appear in a Games final.

The four-time Olympian, who won bronze at London 2012 after first appearing at Sydney in 2000, will now retire from international hockey.

“I’ve had such a fantastic Games,” she said. If you could write a movie script with a fairy tale ending then this would be it. 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. What the whole team has done here has been infectious. The professionalism, attention to detail and real British spirit.”

Kate, graduated in 2003 with a 2:1 after transferring from Liverpool because of Brunel’s hockey-playing heritage.

Team GB Chef de Mission Mark England said: “There is no one more fitting than Kate to lead Team GB into the Closing Ceremony in what has been the greatest British sporting triumph of all time.

“For 16 years, Kate has been on this journey with Team GB and has embodied the values and spirit of our Olympians throughout her career both as a captain and an athlete. The success of her and her team gripped the nation and no doubt inspired many to try to follow in her footsteps."