Where are they now? Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE

Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE
Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE
Olympic Gold medal winning hockey player
BA Economics 2013
After her fantastic success with the Team GB Women's Hockey team at the Rio 2016 Olympics, we spoke to alumna Hollie Webb about her time studying and training here at Sheffield, and how it feels to be an Olympic Gold medal winner.
Hollie Pearne-Webb, MBE
Photo credit GB Hockey

What did you study at Sheffield?

I studied Economics at Sheffield. I chose this because I really enjoyed the subject at A level and it covers a wide range of issues.

What attracted you to study at Sheffield in particular?

I loved the city of Sheffield. It wasn't too far away from home and came across as a really warm and student friendly city. I wanted somewhere where I could thrive academically, enjoy the city and university, and a university that supported student athletes like myself, which the University of Sheffield does with its Elite Sport Performance Scheme (ESPS) of scholarships.

And what was your first impression on arriving in Sheffield?

The accommodation (Endcliffe) was lovely. It felt homely, safe and exciting. The city was a university city with lots going on.

I imagine you were part of the University hockey club; were you involved in any other clubs or societies?

I was part of the University hockey club for all three years at University. I absolutely loved university hockey and the club. It was a great way of making new friends, socialising and having fun with the sport I loved. I especially loved Varsity and beating Hallam.

You were part of the University’s ESPS – what difference did this make to your time at university?

This made a huge difference. This was one of the reasons that I chose the University of Sheffield in the first place. It came across as a university that supported its student athletes. The Scheme enabled me to focus on both my academic studies and my sport. Without the scheme my sport or my degree would have suffered. The scheme offered me the support to succeed in both areas.

What were some of your favourite things to do in the city, aside from studying or training?

I loved to go out into the city to eat and shop. Sheffield is a vibrant, friendly city and offers everything you could want with a university city.

After graduation where has your degree taken you?

Whilst in my third year at Sheffield I gained a graduate job with Defra on the Finance Graduate scheme where I am currently undertaking my CIMA examinations. I manage to work on a part time basis whilst training with the GB squad full time.

How does it feel to be an Olympic Gold medal winner?

Unbelievable! I can't put how I feel into words.

And how did you manage to stay so calm for your penalty in the final?

We had rehearsed the situation many times and I knew my role and what I was going to do. I tried to forget about the occasion and what it meant and just tried to execute my shuffle.

You’ve been playing hockey for many years, and competing for England since just before you graduated. Did you think back then you’d get to where you are now?

I always hoped and dreamed of winning an Olympic Gold. I wanted to compete in every major competition and win medals with England and Great Britain. I do have to pinch myself that this has all happened but there is still a lot left I want to achieve in hockey.

Where do you hope to go next?

I want to go on and win another Olympic Gold medal. I also want to go on getting more caps for England and Great Britain. We have our European title to defend next year and a home World Cup in 2018. Therefore a lot still left for me to do.

What advice would you give to an aspiring athlete who wasn’t sure about managing the demands of training and studying at university?

My advice would be that if you really want to excel at both, then you can at the University of Sheffield. With the support of the University and your own time management and determination you can achieve whatever you want. You may have to miss a social or two but it was totally worth it for me!