As one who played his best hockey in Rhodesia...now Zimbabwe.... I was fascinated to get this in an email. I hope some of you will be interested. Quote: From The Sunday Times May 11, 2008 Caught in Time: Zimbabwe win hockey gold, 1980 Moscow Olympics Cathy Harris A balmy summer's morning in Moscow in 1980 turned into an unforgettable day in the history of the newly independent Zimbabwe. Liz Chase provided the pass and Pat McKillop scored the goal to seal a 4-1 victory over Austria as Zimbabwe wrote themselves into the record books as the first winners of the women's Olympic hockey gold medal. It was their first Olympic medal of any colour. Ann Grant, the captain, a 25-year-old bookkeeper from Harare, led her ecstatic side on to the podium to acknowledge the acclaim for an extraordinary triumph. Most western nations boycotted the Games in protest at the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. With the best teams out of the tournament, including Holland, Germany and Australia, the organisers were forced to invite countries that would never have qualified. In the round-robin six-team format featuring the hosts, Poland, Austria, India and Czechoslovakia, Zimbabwe remained unbeaten. It was a fairy-tale ending for the new African nation, but it might never have happened. Grant, sister of Duncan Fletcher, the former England cricket coach, said the invitation to compete came out of the blue. "We weren't in training, didn't have a team and hadn't a clue what to expect." The squad included the nucleus of the side that had represented Rhodesia, the former name of the country before it emerged from civil war as Zimbabwe. Hurriedly assembled, the team flew to the Zambian capital, Lusaka, en route to Moscow in a plane normally used for transporting meat. "The stench was terrible," recalled Grant. "There were no seats, so we all sat on the floor, strapped in and set off into the unknown. We didn't even have the right shoes to play on the artificial hockey surface." The fortnight in Moscow was crucial: the squad forging an indomitable team spirit as they set their sights on realising a dream. McKillop wrote herself into the history books by scoring the first goal in Olympic women's history. She was also the top scorer in the event. In the euphoria that followed, President Robert Mugabe's wife, Sally, promised every player an ox. Sandy Chick, whose identical twin, Sonia, was also in the side, said: "It took us a while to realise we'd won gold. Suddenly, everyone wanted a part of us - we were immensely proud. People wanted to know all about Zimbabwe and we were invited to a party at the Kremlin. We couldn't believe what a thrilling experience it was. There we were, chatting to Daley Thompson, Seb Coe and Steve Ovett - it was unreal." The Golden Girls returned to a huge welcome and were feted for months. However, the promised oxen failed to materialise, and at a ceremony hosted by Mrs Mugabe, they were amused to receive a small polystyrene packet of meat each. The squad continued to help develop the game, but, sadly, hockey has failed to capture the imagination of the population. Purpose-built stadiums in Harare and Bulawayo lie derelict, with most people reluctant to play or unable to afford the equipment. Cultural obstacles and transport also remain big problems. Twenty-eight years on, their triumph remains a tribute to their outstanding qualities. Nobody who shared the joy of the players and officials could deny them their moment of glory. They freely acknowledge that they won the gold medal without competing against the best in the world, but, like many athletes in Moscow in 1980, they seized their chance. 1 Audrey Palmer President of the Zimbabwe Women's Hockey Association from 1980 to 1995, she died last year, aged 74. 2 Linda Watson Her pace as one of the country's top hurdlers and sprinters helped make Watson a useful utility player. Now follows swimming, as her daughter shows promise. 3 Sue Huggett The midfielder has lived in Melbourne for 22 years and works in accounts. 4 Gill Cowley Lives in New Zealand with her teenage son and works for an accountancy firm. 5 Sonia Robertson Sandy Chick's twin married Springbok rugby union player Ian Robertson. Sonia coached and umpired hockey for years before the family moved to Durban, where they own a coffee shop. 6 Sandy Chick The Chick twins also represented Zimbabwe at basketball. Sandy was a prolific goalscorer. She left Harare in 2006, moving to Dubai. 7 Liz Dreyer (manager) Dreyer moved to Cape Town and was head of a girls' private school. 8 Pat McKillop After retiring from hockey in 1995, she took up golf and has represented Matabeleland. Lives in Bulawayo. 9 Brenda Phillips Moved to South Africa in 1984 and lives in Johannesburg with her husband and two sons. She is deputy head at Roedean Junior School. 10 Maureen George George has lived in Cape Town for more than 20 years. Works as a PA. 11 Sarah English The goalkeeper played hockey and softball until 1986. She works as an accountant for a construction firm in Harare. 12 Arlene Boxhall Boxhall is the youngest women's hockey gold medallist, aged 18 years and 302 days. Nobody has heard from her since 1980. 13 Trish Davies One of the few who remained in Zimbabwe. The family farm was seized four years ago in Robert Mugabe's land-grab. Davies works in accounts in Harare. 14 Chris Prinsloo Prinsloo moved to Johannesburg, but works three months on and a month off in the UK as a carer. 15 Helen Volk Emigrated to Johannesburg in 1984 with her husband and two sons. Her medal was stolen in a burglary in 1990. Despite repeated appeals, it was never returned. 16 Anthea Stewart (player/coach) Married Rob Stewart, who represented Rhodesia at diving. Their son Evan won the 1m springboard 1998 Commonwealth Games gold and world championship title in Rome in 1994. Stewart lives in Harare. 17 Ann Grant Came from a sporting family; Duncan Fletcher is the most famous of her five brothers. She moved to Durban in 1981 and is the financial director of several companies. 18 Liz Chase Trained as a physical education teacher and has lived in Johannesburg since 1983.