Mark Knowles won three medals for Australia in men’s hockey: gold in 2004 and bronze in 2008 and 2012. The Queenslander was the youngest member of the team in Athens, aged 20. The gold medal was Australia’s first Olympic men’s hockey title after 48 years in the game. This included three silver medals, three bronze medals and two fourths at previous Games. Because of this rich history, the success in Athens was an emotional affair, with the team being mobbed by supporters and ex-players after its 2-1 extra-time win against The Netherlands in the final.
At the Beijing Olympics, Australia’s Kookaburras (ranked No 1 in the world) were unexpectedly beaten by Spain (ranked No4) in a semi-final, but went on to win the bronze medal by trouncing their 2004 final counterparts The Netherlands 6-2. The gold medal went to Germany.
Knowles went on compete at his third Olympic Games in London where the Australians faced defending Olympic Champions Germany in the semi-final. The Australians held a 2-1 lead midway through the second half, but the Germans stormed home to win 4-2. The Aussie Kookaburras bounced back to knock off the British 3-1 in the bronze medal match and collect Australia’s sixth consecutive medal in the event.