Eddie Ockenden will be the first five-time Australian Hockey Olympian, with the 16-man Kookaburras and 16-woman Hockeyroos teams for Paris 2024 announced by the Australian Olympic Committee today in Perth.

Along with five-timer Ockenden, the Kookaburras – captained by Aran Zalewski – will feature five players heading to their third Games, seven at their second and three making their Olympic debut.

The Hockeyroos will be led by co-captains Jane Claxton, Brooke Peris, New South Wales Institute of Sport (NSWIS) scholarship athletes, Kaitlin Nobbs and Grace Stewart, and features four athletes heading to their third Olympics, five returning for their second Games and seven debutants.

NSWIS scholarship athletes Tim Brand, Tom Craig, Matthew Dawson, Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie, Lachlan Sharp (pictured above), and Ky Willott were selected for the Kookaburras, while Alice Arnott, Jocelyn Bartram, Nobbs, Stewart, Mariah Williams, and Grace Young were selected for the Hockeyroos.

Athlete bios here | Full team list at bottom of release

The Tokyo Olympic silver medallist Kookaburras enter Paris 2024 fresh off winning the 2024 FIH Pro League title.

The Hockeyroos have notched impressive victories against Tokyo 2020 medallists Argentina and Great Britain already this season, and head to Paris keen to improve on their quarter final exit from Tokyo.

The Hockeyroos have been drawn in Pool B with Argentina, Great Britain, Spain, USA and South Africa, while the Kookaburras will take on Belgium, India, Argentina, New Zealand and Ireland in their pool games.

The 32 selected athletes takes the total Australian Olympic Team size for Paris past 300, sitting at 324 of an expected 460-strong team.

The squad includes a number of Olympic hockey family connections, with Jake Harvie’s grandfather Gordon Pearce a three-time hockey Olympian, Kaitlin Nobbs’ mother, father and uncle all Olympic hockey players, Brooke Peris cousin to Nova Peris and NSWIS athlete Blake Govers’ brother Kieran a Rio Olympian.

Four-time Olympian and Deputy Chef de Mission for Pars 2024 Bronwen Knox announced the teams at Perth’s Aquinas College.

“The Kookaburras and Hockeyroos are such an iconic part of Australia’s Olympic history,” Ms Knox said. “I am thrilled to announce the next 32 athletes who will proudly continue the proud Olympic hockey legacy in Paris.

“Congratulations to each of the 32 players who have achieved this Olympic milestone.

“As a team sport athlete, I know the special bond these athletes will share with each other moving forward and the great camaraderie they will take into the world’s biggest sporting arena in Paris.

“Making one Games is an incredible accomplishment. To make five Games, and become the first Australian in your sport to ever do so, is a truly rare and special achievement. Congratulations Eddie on this remarkable milestone and thank you for your decades of commitment to bring excellence to the hockey pitch day in and day out.

“Thank you to Hockey Australia for providing such a strong pathway and high performance environment, taking athletes from their first steps on a hockey pitch to competing on the world’s biggest stage.”

History-making Tasmanian Ockenden said the Kookaburras were ready for Paris.

““We know our best is good enough, which is a great feeling going into like a major competition. We know our best hockey is beating the best teams in the world. We know that the games are going to be tight and it’s going to be good opposition, but it’s really nice having the belief that our best is definitely good enough.”

“It’s always really exciting knowing you’re going to the Olympics. It’s really hard to compare it to the last four. Every Olympic campaign has had its own differences and its own feeling.

“You want to take some lessons in the past and try and improve and get better and use your experience to your advantage. Going to the Olympics is the coolest thing that we can do as hockey players.”

Kookaburras Head Coach and Olympian Colin Batch said the Kookaburras squad had a wealth of experience and praised Ockenden’s Olympic milestone.

“The Olympic Games creates a different environment and atmosphere and it’s a level up,” he said.

“We have a very experienced squad. We’ve got three debutants, so that’s exciting for them, but we’ve got some players who have been to two or three Olympics and Eddie of course. We haven’t selected some quality players and we have acknowledged that within the group and the immense work that they’ve put in.”

“We also have experience in the coaching staff and we will lean on that. We’ve been across a lot over the last seven or eight years and while it doesn’t guarantee anything, our preparation’s been good.”

“Eddie is an incredible athlete, an incredible person, he’s like a good bottle of red wine isn’t he, he just keeps getting better and better. Heading towards his fifth Olympics is a marvellous achievement and I know he wants a bigger goal and that’s not just being in the team, he wants success in Paris.”

Proud Ngarrawanji woman and member of the Hockeyroos leadership group Brooke Peris will head to her third Games.

“It hasn’t quite sunk in yet! It’s been a big journey and I’ve loved every moment,” she said. “I have a really good feeling about it this time around, we’re in such a good place, I’m very excited.”

“I feel like we have a really solid mixture of experience. The girls that are coming through are fresh and vibrant and they just bring so much flair to our game. Our senior members are structured and we’re disciplined and the girls that are coming in for their first or second Olympics are just so incredible to watch.

“I’m very grateful that I get to be part of this team and we’re just ready to go.

Peris said it was special to share the bond with hundreds of Australian athletes from the range of Olympic sports.

“We’re there as a united Australian Olympic Team and there is just something about it that you can’t ever experience unless you’re there. The moments you get to share with people who have won, the people who did their best and those who weren’t successful, there’s a feeling that goes around the Village of support and gratitude.”

Hockeyroos Head Coach and triple Olympian as a player Katrina Powell celebrated today’s announcement.

“I’m really excited to see the team unveiled and celebrate the 16 that will play at the Paris Olympics and represent the Hockeyroos,” she said. “This is our best 16 players who we believe will give us the best chance of being successful in Paris. There’s good versatility in there, they provide flexibility and the versatility that’s required for the structure of an Olympic Games.”

“We certainly like to play with speed, skill and variety and this group provides it. We’ve got world-class players spread throughout our whole group, in all of the lines surrounded by talent and then we have some dogged determination in there as well, so it’s a really great mix.”

“The athletes are excited. They’re buoyed by how little time is left. It’s been three years this time, but it’s a long time to come around so when you get this close, you can pretty much taste it and smell it and feel it. There is nothing like the Olympics and I feel like I’m just as excited as a coach as I was as a player.”

AOC President Ian Chesterman welcomed today’s announcement.

“Congratulations to the 32 athletes selected today,” he said. “I’d like to make special mention of a proud Tasmanian and great ambassador for Australian sport, Eddie Ockenden, and congratulate him on making Olympic history in Paris.”

“To make an Australian Olympic Team requires so much of our athletes – the talent, determination and persistence to be counted amongst the world’s best.

“The impact of funding to provide world-class high performance programs to develop Australian athletes is vital to seeing our athletes perform on the Olympic stage.

“The additional funding announced by the Australian Government is fantastic news and we thank the Prime Minister for his commitment to helping our sports and athletes.”

The hockey teams will also take the field in their own Olympic history – their competition venue, Yves-du-Manoir Stadium, was the primary venue for the 1924 Paris Olympics and the only venue used that year to also be used 100 years later. In 1924 it hosted the Opening Ceremony, athletics, cycling, equestrian, gymnastics, tennis, football, rugby and modern pentathlon.

Maddison Brooks, Aleisha power and Hattie Shand for the Hockeyroos and Johan Durst, Nathan Ephraums and Tim Howard have been named as the travelling reserves (known as Ap athletes under Games accreditation). The travelling reserves can be selected as a replacement athlete onto the Australian Olympic Team in case of injury or other withdrawal of one of the selected athletes.

Story courtesy of Australian Olympic Committee

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