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14 days to Rio: The Kookaburras win their first gold medal in 2004

Kookaburras with their gold medals in 2004 (Photo: AOC)
22nd July, 2016
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Dubbed one of the best hockey teams of all time, the Kookaburras of 2004 would deliver Australia its first hockey gold medal, in extra time.

Setting out for the Athens Olympic Games, Australia had never won a gold medal in hockey, and it wasn’t looking likely at Athens either with the Netherlands the top team going into the tournament.

» VIEW THE OLYMPIC MEDAL TALLY HERE

Things were looking even less likely for the Kookaburras after they drew the Netherlands in their group stage and lost to them going down 2-1, finishing second place in their group and drawing the high flying Spanish team in the semi-final.

Given Spain hadn’t lost a match to that point and had scored 14 goals, only conceeding three across their five matches it was looking like an ominous task for the Aussies.

They would come racing out of the blocks, going up 4-1 on the back of a third minute goals from Troy Elder, Matthew Wells and a double from Michael McCann before Xavier Ribas brought it back to 4-2.

At that point, the game was in the balance and Australian fans must have felt the usual heartbreak of not winning a gold medal or making the final was going to come into play, but despite Ribas scoring another Grant Schubert would score a double within just two minutes of each other to put the game away.

So, Australia had advanced to the final with a 6-3 win over Spain.

The final against the Netherlands, who had been equally strong not dropping a single game during the group stages and then defeating Germany 3-2 in the semi-final was a tight affair, heavily reliant on defence and only two goals were scored during regulation time.

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The Netherlands would get themselves on the board first with a 29th minute goal to Ronald Brouwer before Australia hit back through Travis Brooks.

Despite the desperation from both sides at the back end of the game, neither could break it open and extra time was required.

There it would be Jamie Dwyer to enter himself in the history books as the winning goalscorer, putting one through in the 78th minute of play to take the gold medal.

Be sure to follow The Roar as we look back on some of the most memorable moments in Olympic history – be they weird and wacky or brilliant and significant – and count down the days until the Rio Olympics opening ceremony.

The Roar’s countdown to the Rio Olympics

50 days to go: Australia’s first Olympian, Edwin Flack
49 days to go: Brazil capitulate at the 2012 Olympics
48 days to go: Blood in the water during the 1956 Melbourne Olympics
47 days to go: Daniel Carroll, the man who won rugby gold with Australia and America
46 days to go: Margaret Abbott – the golfer who didn’t know she had won gold
45 days to go: Where did all the amateurs go?
44 days to go: Australia’s oarsome foursome
43 days to go: When Korea stood as one
42 Days to go: Oscar Swahn, the oldest Olympian
41 days to go: Edith Bosch – the Olympian not known for her medals
40 days to go: Jane Saville’s heartbreaking Sydney Olympics
39 days to go: Herb Elliot dominates in Rome 1960
38 days to go: Teofilo Stevenson, the boxer who might have beaten Ali
37 days to go: Betty Cuthbert steals the show in Melbourne
36 days to go: Jesse Owens’ heroic performance in Berlin
35 days to go: Eric the Eel steals Sydney’s heart
34 days to go: What happened to Cassius Clay’s gold medal?
33 days to go: Australia’s equestrian brilliance at Barcelona
32 days to go: The Olympic sports which are no longer with us
31 days to go: Debbie Flintoff-King wins on the line
30 days to go: The dominance of basketball’s Dream Team
29 days to go: Nadia Comenaci scores gymnastics’ first-ever perfect score
28 days to go: The man who stopped for a duck
27 days to go: The upset of the Sydney Olympics
26 days to go: Murray Rose’s scintilating Melbourne performance
25 days to go: Greg Louganis’ heroic comeback win
24 days to go: Fencing turns to duelling in Paris
23 days to go: Dawn Fraser’s flag-stealing shenanigans
22 days to go: The most prolific Olympic competitor
21 days to go: Duncan Armstrong’s underdog win in Seoul
20 days to go: Johnny Weissmuller: A brilliant swimmer and Hollywood actor
19 days to go: Majorie Jackson – the Lithgow Flash
18 days to go: Larisa Latynina, the most successful female Olympian
17 days to go: Dimitrios Loundras, the child who won an Olympic medal
16 days to go: Roy Jones Jr is robbed of an Olympic gold
15 days to go: Shane Gould’s superstar performance in Munich
14 days to go: The Kookaburras finally fly to the top of the world
13 days to go: Matthew Mitcham’s historic dive
12 days to go: Even Olympians are prone to the odd fail
11 days to go: Abebe Bikila wins the Olympic marathon running in bare feet
10 days to go: Track cycling’s greatest rivalry
9 days to go: Kieran Perkins’ gold medal from lane eight
8 days to go: Sally Pearson’s awesome run in London
7 days to go: Mark Spitz’ perfect seven gold medals in ’72
6 days to go: Usain Bolt torches the field in Beijing
5 days to go: Michael Klim and Ian Thorpe help smash America’s 4x100m world record like a guitar
4 days to go: Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ defiant black power salute
3 days to go: Michael Phelps – the best to ever grace the Olympics
2 days to go: Cathy Freeman delivers with the weight of a country on her back
1 day to go: Ian Thorpe – Australia’s finest Olympian