A book charting the Rio 2016 Olympic gold medal triumph of Great Britain's women's hockey team won a prestigious literature award in London, England last night, with The History Makers named the Thomson Reuters Illustrated Book of the Year at the 16th Sports Book Awards.
Written by lifelong hockey players and fans Richard Stainthorpe and Sarah Juggins, the freelance journalists who also work for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) as Media Coordinators, received the award at a glittering ceremony at Lords Cricket Ground. With input from World Sports Pics, who have also covered international events for FIH, the award is fantastic recognition for the sport and Great Britain's women's team, and a remarkable achievement for those involved in pulling this book together.
"The impact of what the Team GB women’s hockey team did at Rio 2016 is still being felt, inspiring thousands more people to take up this brilliant sport."
Sarah Juggins, Author
The book charts the journey of Team GB's women's hockey team from their lowest point - failing to qualify for the Athens 2004 Olympics. It recalls the battles the team faced - sliding down the world rankings, in-fighting and discord within the squad, no funding and very little prospect of a bright future.
Three players - Crista Cullen, Helen Richardson and Kate Walsh - were junior members of that team. Fast forward 12 years and the same three players were at the heart of the greatest moment in Great Britain women's hockey, standing on the podium in Rio with Olympic gold medals proudly hanging around their necks.
During those intervening years, the team had undergone a transformation. It was no easy journey, but a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows, triumphs and disasters - with casualties along the way.
The History Makers is more than an account of a famous victory. It is the story of how a team changed its culture and its attitude and transformed a sport barely worth a mention in the press into the provider of an Olympic moment that gripped the nation.
The History Makers fought off fierce competition from George Rowlands The Redmen: The Tobacco Years, Michael Donald's Goal!, Iain T. Spragg's Remarkable Golf Courses, Martyn Farr's The Darkness Beckons and AELTC's A Portrait of Wimbledon to win.
Speaking about their award, Sarah Juggins said: "For us as authors it was our Oscar moment. It was brilliant to be on stage waving the baton for our sport. The impact of what the Team GB women’s hockey team did at Rio 2016 is still being felt, inspiring thousands more people to take up this brilliant sport. The Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 is just around the corner, and the incredible ticket sales for that event provide plenty of evidence of just how popular the sport is right now."
Richard Stainthorpe added: "‘This is absolutely unreal for us. We simply wanted to do justice to a terrific story about a team that overcame a lot of challenges to create a moment of sporting magic, so something like this was absolutely not on our radar. We're absolutely thrilled, and it was terrific to have Olympic gold medallists Georgie Twigg and Hannah MacLeod with us on the night. The project would not have been possible without the support of Frank Uijlenbroek and Koen Suyk, whose brilliant images brought the whole thing to life."
The History Makers will no go up against eight other award winners from the night in an online public vote to determine the overall Sports Book of the Year in association with The Times newspaper.
Everyone who votes at is entered into a prize draw to win £100 of National Book Tokens. The public vote is open until midday on Friday 15 June, with the winner announced shortly afterwards.
For more information about the 2018 Sports Book Awards visit http://sportsbookawards.com/