Ric Charlesworth has had several lives in sport. He was a successful West Australian cricketer who played 47 matches for the state between 1972 and 1979 and was a member of three Sheffield Shield winning sides. He represented Australia in four Olympic Games (1972, 1976, 1984 and 1988), and was chosen as captain of the Australian team which was prevented by boycott from attending the Moscow Olympics in 1980. At his final Games, in Seoul in 1988, he had the honour of carrying the Australian flag; he had represented Australia 227 times and shared in a silver Olympic medal in 1976.
After his retirement as a player, Charlesworth became head coach of the Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos. During his regime the Hockeyroos were gold medallists at the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 and the Sydney Games in 2000. They also won the Champion’s Trophy in 1993 (Amsterdam), 1995 (Mar del Plata), 1997 (Berlin), and 1999(Brisbane), as well as the World Hockey Cup in 1994 (Dublin) and 1998 (Netherlands). He later took on mentoring roles with Australian Institute of Sport, the Fremantle Football Club, the New Zealand cricket team and the men’s and women’s Indian hockey teams.
It was under the guidance of Charlesworth that the Hockeyroos developed into the world’s fittest women’s hockey team. Their flair and skill had been constant attributes, but it was Charlesworth who instilled the work ethic, discipline and determination that separated them from the rest. The Confederation of Australian Sport named him as Australian Sports Coach of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2000. After the Beijing 2008 Games he was named as coach of the Australian men’s team.
Harry Gordon, AOC Historian