Australian hockey and Kookaburras great Mark Knowles has been announced as a Deputy Chef de Mission for Australia’s Olympic team at next year’s Games in Paris.
Knowles’ appointment was endorsed and announced at the Australian Olympic Committee’s (AOC) Annual General Meeting in Sydney this morning.
A four-time Olympian and one of Australian hockey’s most decorated players, Knowles was the youngest player in the Kookaburras’ gold medal winning team at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games and won Olympic bronze medals in 2008 and 2012.
He also won two World Cups (2010 and 2014), four Champions Trophies (2005, 2008, 2009 and 2012), four Commonwealth Games gold medals, was named World Player of the Year in 2014 and World Young Player of the Year in 2007.
Knowles will work alongside fellow Queenslander Anna Meares, who was appointed Chef de Mission, to help manage the Australian Olympic Team on the ground at the Games.
Knowles, who is currently Hockey Australia’s National Athlete Pathway Program Technical Lead – Men, said he was honoured to be asked to fulfil the role of Deputy Chef de Mission.
“To be approached and considered as a Deputy Chef de Mission for Australia’s Olympic team in Paris is a huge privilege,” said Knowles.
“The Olympic Games are the pinnacle for any hockey player and I was blessed to compete at four Olympics…there is nothing else like it.”
“I had some fantastic Chef de Missions and Deputy Chefs at the Games I was part of, so I look forward to imparting some of my experience and knowledge and supporting the athletes.”
“I can’t wait to work together with Anna, the other Deputy Chefs and the broader Australian Olympic team over the next 12 months and at the Games in Paris.”
Hockey Australia CEO David Pryles said Knowles was an excellent choice.
“On behalf of everyone in the Australian hockey community, a massive congratulations to Mark on this appointment,” said Hockey Australia CEO David Pryles.
“One of Australian hockey’s all time greats, Mark has achieved everything in the sport including the ultimate prize at the Olympic Games.”
“Having captained the Kookaburras over many years during his playing career, Mark has exceptional leadership qualities and understands both the excitement and pressures that come with performing on world sport’s grandest stages.”
“We laud his appointment by the AOC as a Deputy Chef de Mission and know he will be outstanding in the role to support every Australian athlete to perform at their best in Paris next year.”
The other Deputy Chef de Missions announced were Paddle Olympian Ken Wallace, Water Polo Olympian Bronwen Knox and Athletics Olympian Kyle Vander-Kuyp.
“Both Bronwyn Knox and Mark Knowles bring all the experience of four Olympic Games each in leadership roles with team sports,” said Australian Olympic Committee President Ian Chesterman.
“That is invaluable in the bigger picture of the Australian Olympic Team.”
“With our sports spread out across Paris, we have these experienced Olympians with great leadership qualities joining our Chef de Mission Anna Meares, a four time Olympian and Olympic champion. These are all people with a deep understanding of the needs of athletes – in either the team environment or individual sports.”