The Tale Behind the Australian Olympian with a Lacrosse Stick
(LaxMagaxine.com Blog) The photo popped up in my Facebook news feed yesterday morning thanks to a pair of likes from a Welsh friend and Turkiye Lakros. It was unmistakable – the cobalt blue field with hot pink sideline areas of Riverbank Arena, one of the venues for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Also unmistakable: the man in the Australian warm-up gear was wielding a lacrosse stick, not a field hockey stick. Lacrosse! In the Olympics! Sort of! I shared it on Lacrosse Magazine’s Facebook page and it’s already been viewed by over 11,000 users.
So who is that mysterious would-be laxer, you ask? Hockey Australia, the national governing body of the sport, identified him as Graham Reid, assistant coach of the men’s national field hockey team. Reid played for Australia himself in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games, earning a silver medal in the latter. (The other man pictured is Paul Gaudoin, another assistant.)
The team uses the lacrosse stick to retrieve the balls and throw them back during warm-ups, according to Hockey Australia. They aren’t the only ones. Vivienne Parker-White, vice president of the Australian Lacrosse Association, got a few inquiries from hockey clubs in the Canberra area asking where they could buy lacrosse sticks for use in training.
“Using a lacrosse stick means they can propel the hockey ball faster and I gather more accurately during training sessions for goalies and particularly warm up sessions for the goalies. I’m told that a few of the international teams do this,” Parker-White said.
She added that Australian cricket teams have also used lacrosse sticks for training and warm-ups.
The photo of Reid was first posted to Facebook by Andrew Abbey, who is affiliated with the Welwyn Lacrosse Club.
Team Australia is currently ranked No. 1 in the world by the International Hockey Federation and is a gold medal hopeful in London. The Australians have medaled in each of the last five Olympic Games, but only won the gold once, in 2004. They won bronze in Beijing in 2008. They are currently 2-0 after routing both Germany and South Africa. They will play Argentina, a traditional field hockey powerhouse, on August 3 at 8:30 p.m. London time.
Original Blog at LaxMagazine.com: Lochary Blog 8.2.2011 at 11.59 a.m.