Athlete Biography1967 -
In the 24 years since women's hockey was added to the Olympic program, Australia is the only nation to have won the gold medal more than once. It has done so three times - in Seoul in 1988, Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000 - and the teams involved have come to be compared with some of the nation's greatest sporting combinations ever. Only one athlete was a member of all three gold medal teams: Rechelle Hawkes, born in Albany in Western Australia and the veteran of more than 250 international matches. The Hockeyroos' 3-1 victory over Argentina in the 2000 Games final represented a fitting finale to her magnificent career. Because of it, Hawkes, the only survivor from the Seoul gold-medal side, joined Dawn Fraser and Andrew Hoy as a member of the exclusive band of athletes who have won gold medals at three separate Olympics. (They have since been joined, after Athens 2004, by James Tomkins).
The record of the Hockeyroos during Hawkes' career with them was indeed daunting. Over 12 years, culminating in the Sydney gold medal, the women won three out of four Olympic tournaments, clinched two World Cups, five Champions Trophies and won the first Commonwealth Games title. Fittingly, Hawkes was chosen to perform a significant role in the Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony - she swore an oath on behalf of all competitors to uphold the values of sport. After the final she tossed her stick into the crowd and announced her retirement: "It's time to go. I just don't want to train any more."
Harry Gordon, AOC historian