Born Albany, W.A
In a glittering career, Rechelle Hawkes became the world's most decorated hockey player. From her international debut in 1985 until her retirement in 2000, she won multiple gold medals at the sport's major tournaments - Olympic Games (1988,1996,2000), World Cup (1994,1998) and Champions Trophy (1991,1993,1995,1997,1999). She also won gold at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
She was introduced to the game at the age of six and by 14 was playing in Perth's A-Grade competition. After catching the selector's attention at the national under-21 tournament in 1985, she was immediately elevated to the Australia Team. She made her international debut in a five-test series against Great Britain before she had represented her State at senior level.
She was troubled by ongoing injuries over the next few years but was still able to take her place at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, where at the age of 21, she was the youngest member of the team that won Australia's first gold medal. Four years later in Barcelona, the team finished fifth. In 1993, when Ric Charlesworth took over as national coach, he appointed Hawkes as the team's captain.
The Hockeyroos entered the Atlanta Olympics as the undisputed favourite, having compiled an unbeaten streak of 31 matches heading into the Games. Led by Hawkes' brilliance in the midfield, the team defeated South Korea 3-1 in the final.
Following her second Olympic triumph, Hawkes took some time away from the sport to consider her future. The lure of a home Olympics saw her commit to the team for another four years. In May 1998, she was co-captain of the team that won the World Cup in the Netherlands. Shortly before the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games she suffered a broken arm but managed to regain full fitness in time to lead the side to an historic gold medal, trouncing England in the final 8-1.
Hawkes was accorded the honour of reading the Athletes' oath at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Olympics. Two weeks later, she claimed her third Olympic gold medal in what would be the last game of her international career. She retired having played 279 internationals, an Australian record.
Renowned for her fitness and work ethic, Hawkes' skill and tenacity made her one of the premier attacking midfielders in the sport and the cornerstone of Australia's golden era in women's hockey.