LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 23: Sarah Jones of Great Britain in action during the Women's FIH Field Hockey Pro League match between Great Britain and New Zealand at Twickenham Stoop on June 23, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. | Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Name: Sarah Jones
Country: Great Britain
Sport: Field Hockey
Previous Olympic experience: Tokyo 2021
Social Media: Instagram

Who is Sarah Jones

Sarah Jones’ path to Team Great Britain didn’t always involve field hockey, the sport in which she became an Olympic medalist at the Tokyo Games in 2021 and was one of the 186 out LGBTQ athletes. The Cardiff native’s roots in the sport go back to her early teens playing for local teams, but it wasn’t a constant in her life until she entered university.

She tried out for both soccer and field hockey at Loughborough University and ultimately chose the latter because of the open acceptance and celebration of queerness present in her teammates.

“A lot of these girls were gay and in varying degrees of being out. Some were in relationships, some weren’t. A lot of people, frankly, were just figuring it out,” Jones said in a self-penned BBC Sport column. “But being in that environment gave me confidence in who I was and how normal it is.”

She uses her position as a member of both the Welsh and British national teams to advocate for further inclusion in field hockey and speak to the power of sports to break down those barriers.

“Tournaments such as the Olympics, for example, are so visible — they can shape political movements and set the tone for so many other spaces in life. It has that ability to shape and change lives, which is what makes it so fantastic, but also so powerful,” She said. “I know what hockey did for me, and the confidence and joy it has given me. I want it to be that space for everyone, so everyone can feel comfortable being themselves.”

Sarah Jones at the Paris Summer Olympics

Jones and the Great Britain squad enter the Paris games against a stacked 12-team field. The team snagged a bronze medal in dramatic fashion alongside her then-partner and Welsh field hockey legend Leah Wilkinson in 2021, but working to reach those same heights holds some tough challenges.

Their group stage draw includes Argentina and Australia, two top-five rated teams in the world and champions of their global regions. The table also includes seventh-ranked Spain, who qualified for the Olympics in the same qualifier tournament in which Great Britain did.

Jones tied for second on the team in goals during qualifiers, and she believes the high pressure situations of that tournament have her teammates prepared for Paris.

“That pressure is really high. I think the work we’ve done, particularly since September, our training has really set ourselves up for a high pressurized environment,” Jones told hockey outlet Top Of The D. “There’s nothing that can replicate an event like this.”