Beyond the Limits Cover

Beyond the Limits

The Alyson Annan story

Nicole Jeffery

Simon & Schuster

A frank and enthralling biography of one of Australia’s great Olympic athletes, Alyson Annan—acclaimed as the world’s best female hockey player.

Champions are both born and made. In 1973, Alyson was born into a family without privilege or sporting pedigree, but she became a fearless and talented competitor. As a schoolgirl she excelled in athletics, soccer and cricket but it was in hockey that she found her niche.

Extraordinarily gifted, she was playing for Australia by the time she was 18. However, it was not until she began to train under the visionary Hockeyroos’ coach Ric Charlesworth in 1993 that Alyson’s genius was realised. Charlesworth quickly recognised the potential of the brilliant but erratic young Alyson. He pushed and goaded her to transform her raw talent into unmatched accomplishment. By the Atlanta Olympic Games, where she scored two goals in the final to claim the first of two Olympic gold medals with the Hockeyroos, she was the best in the world,

Though Alyson’s story is one of great achievement, it is not without adversity. The shock of her parents’ divorce, the trauma of her own marriage breakdown in the Sydney Olympic year, the bitter ending of her international career, and the public scrutiny of her life in the Netherlands with former Dutch captain Carole Thate—all took their toll. But Alyson rose above everything, as champions do.

Before I became her coach Alyson added to her speed and strength, great technical skill, tactical nous and competitiveness. I was fascinated to find out how this ‘kid from Campbelltown’ evolved into the world’s best women’s hockey player… I have never seen better… she is without peer.

This is not only a story of what a champion did but also what she thought and why she did it.

Ric Charlesworth