City of Nedlands communication officer Michelle Newton has interviewed Ric Charlesworth as part of the Faces of Nedlands series.
SPORT has been a lifelong passion for Ric Charlesworth but he never expected to make a living out of it.
After leaving Christ Church Grammar School, he studied medicine at UWA, graduating in 1975.
He played cricket for WA until 1980 and hockey for Australia until 1988. He played 47 firstclass cricket matches for WA and hockey for Australia in four Olympics, winning silver in Montreal in 1976.
He was head coach of the Australian women’s hockey team, the Hockeyroos, from 1993 until 2000,and the men’s team, the Kookaburras, from 2009 to 2014, as well as technical adviser to the men’s and women’s Indian hockey teams, and high performance manager for the New Zealand cricket team.
He was also a performance consultant at the Fremantle Dockers.
On top of that, he’s written four books on coaching and is in the process of writing a fifth.
Not to confine himself to the sporting arena, he also had a successful career in politics as the Federal Member for Perth from 1983 to 1993.
He is a doctor of medicine and practised in hospitals and general practice for about seven years after graduating from university.
Dr Charlesworth became interested in politics while a student.
“I was a university student in the ’70s,” he said. “The Vietnam War was in full swing and I was in the draft in 1972.
“Fortunately, my number did not come up. I didn’t believe in the war. We protested against the war, the Whitlam Government got elected, troops stopped, the draft stopped; that was politics in action.”
Then he was selected to represent Australia in the 1980 Olympics Games, which were held in Moscow.
He had already represented Australia in two Olympics: 1972 and 1976.
In 1976, the young team won silver, so when the 1980 Games came round, they were more experienced and felt they had a good chance of winning gold. But they didn’t go after a political boycott.
His plan was to go back into medicine but hockey called again in the form of the Australian women’s team.
They had returned from the Barcelona Olympics and hadn’t done as well as hoped.
They called Dr Charlesworth and asked him to consider applying to coach.