GALLERY: Olympian reveals tip for success to Rocky talent
HOCKEY: "Dare to dream”.
That was the advice that three-time Olympian Nikki Hudson offered aspiring young hockey talent in Rockhampton at the weekend.
The champion striker, who played more than 300 games for the Hockeyroos, attended a free breakfast at Kalka Shades on Saturday, happy to talk with members of the local hockey community, pose for photographs and sign autographs.
Hudson, along with fellow sporting identities Chris 'Choppy' Close, Ben Ikin and Jimmy Cassidy, was also a special guest at the RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Service fundraiser at Korte's Resort on Friday.
Rockhampton-born Hudson said she was always happy to come back to the city that held a place close to her heart.
Although she had played little hockey since her retirement (soccer was now her game), she was always ready to give back to the sport that had taken her to the highest level.
Hudson said grassroots development was vital and it was encouraging to see so many parents bringing their children to the 'come and try' session on Saturday.
When asked to offer her three top tips for success, Hudson said she could narrow it down to one.
"Dare to dream”, she said "because with hard work dreams will come true.”
"That would be my advice - if you've got a dream, follow it, and play the game because you love it.
"I think it's especially important for kids these days to be exercising and playing sport but we need to support them.
"I loved hockey, I couldn't get enough of it, and it was because I had parents who supported me and loved me and just encouraged me to play, never placing too much pressure on me.
"I would urge anyone involved in sport to enjoy it because the more you love it the more you want to play it.”
Hudson has been enlisted as a commentator for the upcoming Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and will be keenly following the fortunes of the Hockeyroos and the Mark Knowles-led Kookaburras.
"I'll be right amongst the action and I'm really looking forward to it.
"I think both the Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos will do well, and there is nothing more special than playing in your home country in front of your home crowd.”
Hudson had the privilege of doing that in hockey's three main tournaments - the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games and the World Cup.
"To play the three biggest events at home and come out with two gold medals, I couldn't have asked to achieve more in my career.
"I played as long as I could. I got to the ripe old age of 32, which was my playing number, and now I just love watching hockey and cheering the Australian teams on.”
Hudson said while it was hard to top the Hockeyroos gold medal win in Sydney in 2000, it was her winning goal in the gold medal game at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne that she rates among the fondest memories of a decorated career.