BEING described as a double Olympian is music to the ears of Ellen White, who intends to make more incredible memories at Tokyo 2020 after being selected for Team GB again.
White is one of just five players in the squad of 18 who competed at the London 2012 Games, with Karen Bardsley, Steph Houghton, Jill Scott and Kim Little the others.
Making their Games debut nine years ago, Team GB reached the quarter-final stage before being knocked out by Canada - a team they will face in the group stage this summer.
And 32-year-old Manchester City striker White – who hails from Aylesbury – cannot wait to experience a second Olympics as part of a squad she believes is more than capable of going all the way in Japan.
“It sounds amazing [to be called a double Olympian],” said White, whose Team GB exploits in Tokyo will be broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+.
“It’s surreal, I’m really excited. I feel really lucky and honoured to be part of this squad and to be selected. We have very, very talented players in this squad.
“I feel really lucky to be part of Team GB and to be a double Olympian is incredible. There’s so many memories from London 2012 – a vivid one is Steph scoring at Wembley against Brazil.
“The crowd just erupted and it really kind of propelled women’s football. I’ve got a lot of memories from being in the Olympic village and being able to speak to athletes, hear their stories.
“Making videos, making some incredible memories with my teammates and to say I was a part of London 2012 was a real privilege and I’m really excited to make some incredible memories again.
“I want to make some incredible memories with this squad in Tokyo and hopefully we can achieve something really special together. We have so many players with vast experience.”
Team GB topped their group at London 2012 with three wins from three – including that famous 1-0 triumph over Brazil at Wembley – but fell at the first knockout stage to Canada.
This year’s Olympics will see the team face hosts Japan, as well as Chile and old foes Canada, and White feels head coach Hege Riise’s experience could be the difference this time.
“We have got a manager that has been there and has got a gold medal. Hege has had those highs and lows, that rollercoaster ride within an Olympic Games,” said White.
“A lot of the players have experienced that as well so I’ll think we’ll be drawing on everyone’s experience and really developing and learning. It will be a rollercoaster journey.
“Every two days pretty much there’s a game and it’s exciting. We’ll be preparing the best way we possibly can to face the opponents that we’ll face and we just can’t wait to be out there.
“We’re a completely different team [to 2012] and facing Japan in their home country as well is really exciting, they are always a really tough side to face and also facing Chile.
“I think it will be a really tough group, we’ll take each game as it comes and we’re not going to take anything for granted at all. It’s a great group to be involved in.”
And with so many near misses with England at major tournaments, including a third-place finish in 2015, White has vowed to do everything in her power to finish on top of the podium.
“You want to win things, as a footballer, as an athlete, you want to achieve and I definitely will do everything possible to help this team win and achieve something,” she said.
“The Olympics takes hold of everyone when it comes around every four years, every five years for this one, and you get swept away with watching sports you wouldn’t normally watch.
“You get inspired by the stories, off the top of my head in 2008 when Kelly Holmes won double gold the races were insane, coming from behind and coming down the home straight.
“It gives me goosebumps now just thinking about it. Then there’s that Super Saturday at London 2012, Jess Ennis’ story is phenomenal, Mo Farah, Greg Rutherford - incredible Olympians.
“There are so many athletes that have come before us as well, so many Olympians, and I’m proud to be part of that family, part of that Team GB journey as well with my teammates.”
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