Australia has a remarkable history in Hockey at the Olympic Games, with the Hockeyroos considered the nation’s most successful Olympic team and the Kookaburras more often than not on the dais.
In total, Australia has competed in men’s or women’s Hockey competitions at the Olympics 24 times, collecting 12 medals. Among them are four gold medals, all in the past 30 years.
Ahead of the annual Olympic Day celebration on 23 June, and with rough 25 months until Tokyo 2020, we wanted to reflect on Hockey’s Olympic tradition given our success.
The Hockeyroos have won Olympic gold three times, most memorably at the 2000 Sydney Games cheered on by a boisterous home crowd.
Before that, the Hockeyroos won Olympic gold at the second games they competed in at Seoul in 1988.
The Kookaburras had to wait much longer for Olympic success, having debuted at the 1956 Melbourne Games.
Australia’s men’s team have never finished lower than sixth across 15 Olympic Games which is a feat which shouldn’t be under-estimated.
However, they had to wait until their 12th games to finally secure their maiden Olympic gold medal, triumphing in Athens in 2004.
Prior to that, the Kookaburras had lost the gold medal matches in 1968, 1976 and 1992, while they’d also finished third on three occasions too.
It’s fair to say, Australia’s 2004 triumph was long-awaited and lifted the perceived curse, with Kookaburras legend Jamie Dwyer hitting an extra-time winner in the final against the Netherlands.
The Hockeyroos’ 1988 victory in Seoul was less dramatic but no less challenging, knocking over the hosts 2-0 in the gold medal match after goals from Debbie Bowman-Sullivan and Lee Capes.
Australia met South Korea again in the final in Atlanta eight years later, with all-time top scorer Alyson Annan netting a double and Katrina Powell hitting the scoresheet in a 3-1 win.
Four years later, with the weight of expectations from the Australian public in Sydney, the Hockeyroos triumphed again, defeating Argentina 3-1 in the decider with Annan, Juliet Haslam and Jenny Morris scoring.