Running onto Beijing’s Hockey arena in August will be another milestone in the incredible career of Nikki Hudson as she competes in her third consecutive Olympics.
By Alice Wheeler, AOC
The 32-year-old, already the most capped Australian female hockey player in history, will play her 300th international match in Beijing.
“It’s almost a surreal feeling,” Hudson said of her selection.
“Not only am I going to the Olympics, but it’s my third one. You can’t ever get sick of how exciting that feels.”
Hudson will be joined by her fellow Sydney 2000 gold medalists Angie Lambert (Skirving) and Rachel Imison along with three other players they competed with in Athens 2004, Nicole Arrold, Emily Halliday and Melanie Wells (Twitt).
“The best team was definitely picked,” Hudson said. “The young players bring so much vitality to the team and we are able to give them insight into the experiences and emotion that come with the Games.”
In addition to the wealth of experience brought by these Games veterans, the team boasts 10 strong young players making their Olympic debut in Beijing.
“We’re going into the Games with a good chance of a medal,” Head Coach Frank Murray said.
“We have a really good mix of experienced strong defensive players as well as new players with a strong future in hockey ahead of them.
“Although we are not going in to the Games as favorites, I feel this could work in our favor.”
At 19 years of age, Casey Eastham is the youngest member of the team.
The midfielder from Shell Harbour, NSW played her first international match for Australia two years ago and has consistently proven her place on the team.
“For someone so young, Casey is really showing herself to be a good talented player,” Murray said.
“I have no doubt she will rise to the pressure of the occasion and will set herself up as a force for the next Olympics to come.”
There is no shortage of comeback stories in the team either.
Hope Munro took time out of international hockey in 2004 in order to start a family.
Now Munro, the proud mother of two young girls, has gone from strength to strength over the last three years to earn selection for her first Olympic Games
The Women’s Hockey Section of the 2008 Australian Olympic Team:
Nicole Arrold, Teneal Attard, Madonna Blyth, Casey Eastham, Emily Halliday, Kate Hollywood, Nikki Hudson, Rachel Imison, Fiona Johnson, Angie Lambert, Kobie McGurk, Hope Munro, Megan Rivers, Kim Walker, Melanie Wells, Sarah Young.