An inspiring story about achieving the ultimate in sport - winning Olympic gold.
How does an otherwise ordinary girl from Sydney's western suburbs become the best in the world? What drove her? Who supported her? How did she do it?
This is the story of Alyson Annan, born in 1973 to a family without privilege or sporting pedigree. Always a tomboy, Alyson began as a talented soccer player until she was too old to play with the boys any longer, so she went off looking for another sport. She found women's hockey.
Initially a highly gifted player but with little discipline, she then came under the guidance of Ric Charlesworth, the Hockeyroos' coach. Theirs was a tempestuous relationship Charlesworth's comment to Alyson on first meeting her was, "You're looking fat today". From this unpromising start their began a relationship based on respect and resentment in equal parts. He goaded and pushed her relentlessly and transformed her raw talent into brilliance and accomplishment.
For eight years she played, first as striker and then inside forward, for the Hockeyroos, frequently battling with Charlesworth who continually exhorted her to greater heights. Even after she won her first gold medal at Atlanta, Charlesworth's comment was "Not your best tournament, imagine how good you can be by 2000".
Before the Olympic 2000 hockey final Alyson found herself so terrified before the home crowd that she could barely hold her stick. But the moment the game began, her nerves evaporated. She scored the opening goal, from then on the Hockeyroos dominated and finished by winning gold for Australia.
After the Olympics Alyson went to Holland to play for a Dutch team. She is still there and is now deputy coach for the national team.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 05 / 2004
- 153 x 234mm