The Web


Home > Sports > Athens 2004 > Reuters > Report

Australia finally break through hockey gold barrier

August 28, 2004 18:47 IST

Always the bridesmaid ... and finally the bride.

When Australia stepped on to the pitch for the Olympic men's hockey final on Friday, they were taking on more than the Dutch -- they were beating off a demon as they triumphed 2-1 with a golden goal in extra-time.

Australia have been a world force in hockey for decades but for all the trophies on the shelf, the Olympic gold has been ominously missing.

Commentators talked about the monkey on Australia's back, the Olympic jinx, the missing link.

The Australians have made a record eight Olympic semi-finals and won three silvers and three bronzes.

On Friday, they finally broke through the glass ceiling and added gold to the tally.

"The teams before us had the history of being bridesmaids but we've killed that now," said Jamie Dwyer, who slammed home the penalty corner that beat the Dutch.

In a typically upfront and Australian way, the team had talked through the pressure on them finally to win gold.

"It's not like the issue was suddenly in our face. We've addressed it for some time. It's stupid if you don't that because otherwise there'll be tension," said coach Barry Dancer.

The dry, down-to-earth coach, who was part of the team that won Australia's second silver in Montreal in 1976, said he felt "pride and satisfaction" at having finally rewritten history.

"At last we've stopped you guys asking about it," Dancer joked to reporters, putting the win down to "commitment, mateship in the team, selflessness, depth and fitness".

Much of the credit must also go to Dancer who trained the team out of fearing failure at the finals, instead turning the pressure into motivation to win gold.

Time and again during the Olympics, players have emphasised that they are a new team who have nothing to do with history and everything to do with the future of Australian hockey.

"The bridesmaid stuff has been blown out of proportion," said 24-year-old forward Grant Schubert. "Some of the guys weren't even thinking about that. It means nothing to us and we showed that tonight".

"And besides, now it's gone for good," he grinned.

Athens 2004: The Complete Coverage

© Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Share your comments

Article Tools
Email this article
Top emailed links
Print this article
Write us a letter
Discuss this article

Related Stories

Australia win men's hockey

Germany squeeze into semis

Dutch going for hat-trick

People Who Read This Also Read

Australia win men's hockey

Lot to learn from the semis

Olympic Legends: Nadia Comaneci

Copyright © 2004 India Limited. All Rights Reserved.