Absence makes the heart grow fonder for Owsley.

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and that’s certainly true as far as Great Britain star Lily Owsley is concerned.

The global pandemic has decimated the sporting calendar worldwide, but the Olympic gold medallist has been using her enforced break to rediscover her love for the game.

“I needed this time away from everyone to sit back and realise how much I miss it and how much I want to be back.” The 25-year-old told BBC Sport’s Jo Currie.  

Owsley made her international debut back in 2013 and has been on the continuous treadmill that is international hockey ever since. With big tournaments every summer and the daily grind of training in the central programme as well as travelling the globe to take on the world’s best, international hockey is now a year-round pursuit.

Credit: WORLDSPORTPICS FRANK UIJLENBROEK

Before the postponement was announced, this year was meant to be Olympic year. Great Britain were heading into the tournament – the pinnacle of hockey, as the defending champions. The pressure to peak and to perform in such an important competition is clear:

“This was Olympic year so everything was intense and stressful. We haven’t been so successful in the last couple of years so the fact the Olympics was getting closer and closer was more and more daunting.”

“That’s not to say I don’t think we were ready. But for this to have come now, it has been a chance to breathe.”

The “chance to breathe” has given Owsley and her team mates a break from their usual punishing schedule. Although the reasons for said break are those no one would have wished for, the opportunity to relax appears to be most welcome.  

“I don’t think I realised how intense things have been and how I’d sort of been holding my breath and not thinking about things. Now I’ve been given a chance to sit back and take a look and I’ve actually enjoyed the non-structured life. I like to not be told where to be and what to do and what time to do things, I kinda like it.”

“I’ve been gardening. That makes me sound about 80. I’ve made a little herb patch so I’ve been doing that. I’ve not been doing much, definitely not baking.”

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