Described as 'the cornerstone of Australia's golden era in women's hockey', Rechelle Hawkes was one of the world's most highly decorated hockey players. She had her international debut in 1985 and retired in 2000, playing an Australian record 279 international matches and winning multiple gold medals in major competitions along the way. She won three Olympic Games gold medals (1988, 1996, 2000), two World Cups (1994, 1998) and five Champions Trophies (1991, 1993, 1995, 1997, 1999). She was a member of the team that won gold at the Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in 1998. She is the most successful female player in international Hockey history
Hawkes had bad luck with injuries early in her career, but this did not stop her from taking her place in the team that won Olympic gold in 1988 in Seoul. In 1993, she was appointed team captain and led the team that compiled an unbeaten streak of 31 games leading into the Atlanta Olympics in 1996, and which eventually went on to beat South Korea 3-1 in the final.
After Atlanta, Hawkes took some time off the game to contemplate her future. She decided to go for Olympic gold one more time and was given the honour of reading the Athletes' Oath at the opening ceremony in Sydney. Two weeks later, she played her last international game and claimed her third Olympic gold medal.
Hawkes was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame in 2002 and the Western Australian Hall of Champions in 2005.