Mark Knowles made his fourth appearance in the men’s Olympic hockey team in Rio, captaining the side with years of experience. The veteran announced his retirement from the sport in April 2018 after claiming Commonwealth Games gold on the Gold Coast.
The Aussie Olympic campaign kicked off with a 2-1 win over trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand but despite starting strong, the side then suffered back-to-back 1-0 losses to Spain and Belgium. Determined to claim their third straight Olympic medal, the Aussies then secured a 2-1 win over Great Britain and a 9-0 victory over Brazil, setting themselves up for a quarter-final clash against the number 2 ranked side, the Netherlands. The Aussies quickly saw their hopes of a gold medal fade as the Dutch secured a 4-0 win, knocking the favourites out of the Olympic competition.
Having played for the Kookaburras since 2004, Knowles has gained significant experience at the highest level that has seen him become one of only two players (alongside Jamie Dwyer) that will take the field in Rio as part of his fourth consecutive Olympic Games. The Rockhampton born veteran was also crowned ‘International Player of the Year’ in 2014.
Knowles made his international debut in 2004 and at 20 years of age became the youngest in the team to win Olympic gold when Australia defeated the Netherlands in the final to claim their first ever Olympic title.
He became a Kookaburras regular and in 2007 he won the World's Best Young Player award. He returned to Olympic competition in Beijing but could not help Australia reach the final to defend their Olympic title as the team eventually finished with bronze. The same occurred in London where the side frustratingly brought home their second Olympic bronze medal.
He was a part of the 2010 and 2014 World Cup winning side and has three Commonwealth Games gold medals to his name. He has since neared 275 caps for his country with a second Olympic gold in his sights. Throughout his career he has also claimed five Champions Trophy titles. Knowles married Jamie Dwyer's younger sister Kelly in 2010.