At thirty years of age, Racheal Lynch was never satisfied to stop and let life go by. The Australian Women’s Field Hockey (Hockeyroo) Goal Keeper only recently returned from the Rio Olympics, an experience which gave her some extraordinary memories to add to her extensive resume. Not only has she played an impressive 156 games for her country, Racheal is also a registered nurse, co-owner of ‘The Drop Café’, a corporate speaker and a budding entrepreneur.
So, tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and what you do.
I'm a 30 year old Hockeyroo from Melbourne. I debuted in 2006, and have since played 156 games for Australia, and part of the leadership group for 2 years.
I’m dual Commonwealth Games gold medalist, a World Cup silver medallist, an Olympian, RUOK ambassador, registered nurse working in the neuro rehab ward of Fiona Stanley hospital, co-owner of 'The Drop Cafe' in Sydney, a budding entrepreneur, corporate speaker and lover of food, bike riding and travel.
What drove you to become an international hockey player?
I loved playing all different sports from a young age. I was always competitive and had a good level of coordination and athleticism so could manage a base level in most sports.
Once I got into hockey I progressed reasonably quickly and loved the team environment so I pushed hard whenever I was given the opportunity. I was selected to represent Australia in 2006 and have been in the team since then. I still love training and playing for my country.
What’s been your proudest moment?
There have been many! My first game for Australia, winning silver at World Cup 2014 and getting Goal Keeper of the Tournament, playing in Rio in front of my whole family…
What mistake have you learned most from?
A mistake I really learned from was going full time with hockey and not having other things in my life.
I love being busy and it's important for me to have other outlets to keep me mentally fresh. I love working, so made sure this Olympic year I continued to work despite the request to commit 100% to hockey. It is what I need to perform at my best.
What would you say is the recipe for success?
This is different for everyone but for me it's about having a real balance in your life and more purpose than just trying to win.
Every day I try to improve as a person and help others however I can. Whether it's through my charity work, coaching, speaking engagements, as a nurse or just as a senior player in the Hockeyroos.
What have you learned about yourself?
I've learned that my values are really important to me so to stay true to those no matter what.
Be a good person not just a good athlete.
What has been your biggest sacrifice?
I wouldn't say its sacrifice, as it's a choice I make, but definitely being away from my close friends and family has been hard.
You miss important events and occasions due to hockey (being based in Perth) and I hate letting people down. Our schedule is very strict, which is a shame as I think some flexibility would allow a bit more balance.
I hope moving forward this is something that may change in the Hockeyroos program.
What will you remember most from the Rio Olympics?
There are two stand out moments for me.
Beating Argentina 1-0 in a must win game in front of a very vocal crowd. And then arriving home after it all on the charter flight and walking through the airport alone but being welcomed and congratulated by complete strangers who had no idea what I'd done but told me they were proud. I'll never forget that.
What was the most bizarre thing you saw at Rio Olympics?
It wasn't what I saw more what happened to me. My goal keeper smocks were stolen from the goalie room before a match! It was a secure area, so must have been a volunteer.
Luckily I had a spare so threw that on, reported the incident as I ran onto the field and then by the time I got back after I'd played they had come back and stolen all my clothes. Aussie shorts, singlet and jacket.
Who would you most like as part of your team (hockey playing/support staff/in your business) – famous or otherwise?
My brother Matt and Ash Nelson (Hockeyroos team mate). Both help me in many ways and are valuable assets when it comes to business.
Best piece of advice you have for sportspeople and business owners?
Be a sponge. Take in everything that anyone tells you and then squeeze out what doesn't work for you!