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Hockeyroos strike hockey gold

Australia women's national field hockey team Getty
02 Aug 1996
Atlanta 1996, Olympic News, Hockey

Australia's women were the favourites to win the field hockey gold in Atlanta, and with good reason. Over the previous few years the so-called “Hockeyroos” had been crowned world champions and had won the Champions Trophy three times in a row. They arrived in the USA on the back of a 30-game unbeaten run and unsurprisingly oozed confidence.

Their closest challengers for Olympic gold were the Republic of Korea. The two teams met in the pool phase, sharing six goals in a closely contested draw. The Australians won all of their other games on their way to the final, setting up a rematch with the Koreans.

Nova Peris-Kneebone Getty

Among the stars of the Australia team was defender Nova Peris-Kneebone. She wasn’t simply an outstanding player, but also an important symbol of her country’s complicated cultural background. Peris-Kneebone was an Aborigine, who was also part Dutch and part Filipino.

Alyson Annan gave the Hockeyroos the lead, before Chang Eun-jung brought the scores level shortly before half-time.

Annan then restored the Australian advantage soon after the interval, and this time there was to be no way back for the Koreans. Katrina Powell increased the lead seven minutes from the end to seal victory and give Peris-Kneebone and her team-mates a historic gold.

She was back in Olympic action four years later at her home Games in Sydney, but by this point she had switched her endeavours to the track. She reached the semi-finals of the 400m and was part of the women’s 4x400m relay team that finished fifth.

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