Hawkes heads home
Former Australian Hockeyroos captain and three-time Olympic gold medallist Rechelle Hawkes returned to her hometown on Thursday last week to give insight into her experience as a professional athlete.
Hawkes visited Flinders Park Primary School and Albany Senior High School as part of the Olympics Unleashed tour, presented by Optus.
Hawkes assisted the TAP squad training program, run by the Lower Great Southern Hockey Association, and helped the kids out in her first visit back to the town where she was born since just before the London Olympics in 2012.
Hawkes said it was enjoyable giving back to regional areas.
“I want to give back to inspiring athletes, and explain to them don’t give up,” she said.
“If at first you don’t succeed, keep trying.
Kids in regional areas maybe don’t get the same opportunities as those from metropolitan (areas).
“Being able to come out to regional WA and hopefully inspire them and tell them my story about making it to the Australian team and having come from regional WA, that it is possible.
“You don’t have to be in the city to make an Australian team or represent your State.
“I think growing up in the country, you are more relaxed, I think it grounds you and (you) deal better with a team environment.”
Hawkes was born in Albany and went on to captain the Hockeyroos for eight years, becoming the second Australian woman after swimmer Dawn Fraser to win three Olympic gold medals at three separate Olympic Games.
Hawkes debuted in 1985 and reached a milestone in 1999 when playing her 250th game for the national team.
The Albany-raised star was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002.
Hawkes won gold medals at Seoul (1988), Atlanta (1996) and Sydney (2000).
“I think it was a combination of good coaching and a really talented group of players,” she said.
“You have to have that backbone to any team, to take from one year into the next.”
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