Harry Gibson sees hockey gold slip away at Australian Youth Olympic Festival
Former Millfield School pupil Harry Gibson was left wondering 'what if' after seeing a gold medal slip through his fingers at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Gibson and the Great Britain men's hockey team faced off against old foes Australia in Sydney final, keen to avenge defeat by the hosts in the round-robin stage.
This time there was much more riding on the result as the two nations fought it out for gold but things did not look good from the outset as Great Britain trailed 3-0 at half- time.
Gibson and his side upped the tempo after the break and went 4-3 ahead before Australia levelled with two minutes remaining. The hosts then stole the win in extra- time courtesy of a golden goal.
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And, despite admitting he would have taken silver before travelling Down Under, 19- year-old Gibson insisted the way it arrived was tough to take.
"I have mixed emotions about the silver medal," he said. "If someone had said 'you will win silver' before the tournament, then I would have been pleased but to get so close to gold is so frustrating and I think we should have won.
"Silly mistakes cost us. For the neutral it was probably one of the best games they will see but for us it was a missed opportunity.
"When we were three goals down at half-time, we rallied the troops and fought back to lead 4-3. To then lose it in extra- time was gutting.
"We didn't change much tactically but mentally we just had to improve as we knew we were fitter and we knew the goals would come.
"They did but unfortunately the gold didn't, although a silver medal is never bad I suppose."
The festival was Gibson's first taste of an Olympic-style event and, although he watched as gold slipped away at the death, he has not been put off doing it all again when the next opportunity arises.
"The whole festival was fantastic and we really came together as a team and as a family," he said.
"Being around other sports, playing on the same pitches as the Sydney Olympics, representing Team GB at a Games – it was all brilliant and I could definitely get used to this level of competition."
The British Olympic Association prepares and leads British athletes at the summer, winter and youth Olympic Games. It works in partnership with sport National Governing Bodies to enhance Olympic success and is responsible for championing the Olympic values. Visit www.olympics.org.uk for more information.