Whatever Richie can do...Gemma taking on adventure race

By Dale Budge

Gemma Flynn and Richie McCaw on the red carpet at the Chasing Great Movie Premier. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / Photosport
Gemma Flynn and Richie McCaw on the red carpet at the Chasing Great Movie Premier. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / Photosport

Black Sticks hockey star Gemma Flynn will take the rest of the year off before making a call on her future in the sport but it doesn't mean she will be idle.

The 26-year-old is one of a number of women's Black Sticks players that will take some time out from the sport to try and refresh themselves physically and mentally after the disappointment of narrowly missing a medal at the Rio Olympics.

This weekend she will compete in the Spring Challenge, a women's adventure race in Golden Bay at the top of the South Island that involves moutainbiking, rafting and running.

Fiance Richie McCaw did a similar thing after retiring from rugby, competing in the GODZone adventure race - a five-day, 530km event - at the top of the South Island in April.

"For the moment I just want to focus on some other things away from hockey," Flynn told Radio Sport.

"I will still support the team and I will watch the games."

The striker or midfielder says she will weigh up her future in the sport during that time.

"I don't know the exact answer as yet but that will become clearer as the year moves forward."

Flynn posted some pictures on Instagram tis week of her training for the Spring Challenge.

1000 steps to the top of Koko head ☝️Worth every step for the amazing view #hawaii #adventure #fitness

A photo posted by Gemma Flynn (@gemflynn) on

Flynn won't be the only Black Sticks player to take a break with a number of squad going through the heartbreak of being within reach of an Olympic medal only to miss out by the smallest of margins two campaigns in a row.

"I think some will take time; maybe the rest of the year," Flynn says.

"For some it was their first campaign so they will be still just as eager to get back and into things.

"It will be a personal choice and it will probably be a fairly even split."

Flynn, who is engaged to former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, says the disappointment of losing back-to-back matches in the medal round at Rio is still raw.

"I'm still hurting a little bit. It is still in the back of my mind but there is not much you can do. You just have to focus on the next chapter.

"I have been lucky enough to have a little bit of a holiday and a rest and some time away from hockey.

"I am refreshed but it doesn't make it any easier."

Flynn was one of six players that went through the same pain after the London Olympics in 2012 and she says that she doubts it will be something they ever fully overcome.

"I just don't think it ever goes away. You will probably look back in 20 years and still feel the same. I spoke to a lady the other night that was in the team in Sydney and they came sixth and just missed out and she said it still doesn't go away even 16 years on.

"To go through it twice is cruel but who said sport was easy? We do it and you never know the outcome. It is why we do it and love it."

As disappointed as they might be about the end result Flynn says she will take some fond memories away from the overall experience.

"You don't feel it at the time but you have to be proud with the way we carried ourselves. I am still really proud to be part of the group but it is just so disappointing not to have something tangible for that hard work.

"It wasn't through a lack of trying."

- NZ Herald

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