Maddie Hinch reveals mid-air antics as Team GB's victorious women's hockey team returns from Rio 2016

Great Britain's hockey goalkeeper Maddie 'Mad Dog' Hinch shows off her gold medal

So successful was Team GB's golden fortnight in Rio that there were not enough first-class seats on the flight home for Maddie Hinch and her Olympic hockey heroes.

Touching down at Heathrow to the sound of clinking precious metal, the squad of 19 nursed hoarse voices after 11 hours of champagne-fuelled, sky-high jubilation.

They were flanked by the likes of Nicola Adams, Adam Peaty and Max Whitlock and given a fitting 'welcome home' at the packed-out arrivals area of Terminal Five.

Hinch and the rest of Team GB returned home on Tuesday with a record haul of medals

For goalkeeper Hinch, who kept out every one of Holland's penalties in Friday night's dramatic final shoot-out, it was the perfect finale to her Brazilian dream.

'Nobody usually recognises me because I'm the one who wears a helmet,' the 27-year-old told Sportsmail. 'We couldn't fit in first class because no one expected us to win gold.

'It didn't matter because we didn't sleep and we barely sat down. There will be a few sore heads once it calms down. Everyone knew where the hockey players were.

'It's just been the perfect script. Women's hockey had the nine o'clock prime time spot, delaying the BBC News… what more could we ask for? I hope this is just the start.'

There was not enough room in first-class for the whole of the women's hockey team

Great Britain defeated Holland on penalties to claim women's hockey gold in Rio

Known as Mad Dog because of her reckless bravery, Hinch steered Britain to their first ever women's hockey gold as Team GB eclipsed all expectations with a 67-medal haul.

Her masterplan was scribbled on the back of a water bottle and a notepad, defying the shoot-out hoodoo that has become synonymous with the England football team.

'If the FA want a few tips, I'm happy to help out,' she joked, before revealing some of her secrets. 'It's a slightly different kettle of fish to football but a lot of it is just the mental side of things.

'I'm not one for showboating but, at that moment, you need some bravado to show that you're up for it and make the opposition feel a little bit nervous about their shot.

'It involves hours and hours of homework. You learn each player's strength, because that's what they're likely to resort to under pressure. Some like hitting it on the backhand or some would take me on.'

Finding the information, however, is often the biggest problem in a sport not associated with mainstream broadcasting.

'It comes down to research and constantly staying up to date with what players are doing in tournaments all over the world,' she added. 'The Dutch are difficult because they don't end up in that situation very often, so I had to find stuff from club matches. You look at body positions as well.

'I write notes on my water bottle that I use during the game and then have a separate book for shootouts. I grabbed the book off our coach before it started and it's full of plans to counteract what I'm expecting. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I'll never come out with any regrets because I've done all I can.'

Maddie Hinch kept out all but one of Holland's penalties in the gold medal shoot-out 

Team GB's women's hockey team celebrate after beating Holland in the final in Rio

Great Britain's women had never won a gold medal in hockey before Rio 2016

Having landed in a chartered British Airways Boeing 747, named 'victoRIOus' and complete with a gold nose, Hinch revealed the party of staff, coaches and athletes had belted out God Save the Queen.

Whitlock, who won an unprecedented two gymnastics golds, showed off his moves in mid-air and Peaty, who twice broke the 100metre breaststroke world record, was invited into the cockpit on flight BA2016.

But Hinch has barely a week before she is back in the air, with the unlikely star of the Rio leaving her hometown in Kent this month to join Dutch side Stichtse.

'Awkwardly for me, three of those Netherlands girls play at my new club in Holland,' she said. 'I need to pack up for the move but I don't know if they'll let me in the country! I'm hoping we'll all be friends!'

Team GB's hockey team celebrate their success with Adam Peaty and Alistair Brownlee

Maddie Hinch shows off her gold medal after returning from Brazil

Finishing second in the overall standing — ahead of China — Great Britain announced themselves as a sporting heavyweight and will be boosted by a 29 per cent funding increase ahead of Tokyo 2020.

And having overcome the world's No 1 side in the final Team GB's hockey stars are now plotting to back up their gold in four years.

'This is exactly what our sport needed,' said Hinch. 'We've been simmering along and doing quite nicely as a group, but we don't get the TV coverage we really need.

'We put a social media ban on throughout the tournament so we didn't know what was going on back home. It might have been a little bit intimidating if we'd known that nine million people were tuning in!

'That game was a great advert for women's hockey and the medal is just a bonus. That game had everything and I hope people will go out and pick up a stick. I'll have a week off now and then straight back into it… onwards and upwards to Tokyo.'

Daily Mail