It might take some time, but Canberra goalkeeper Andrew Charter says the Kookaburras' Tokyo Olympic Games silver medal will be looked back on with pride.
The Kookaburras suffered a devastating penalty shootout loss to Belgium in the gold medal game on Thursday night after a tense 1-1 draw dominated by the eventual winners.
Charter, 34, said a silver medal was not Australia's aim, but he took solace from the team's growth.
"While smiles are hard to find right now, I know we will all look back on this and hold our heads high with pride," he wrote on Instragram.
"What this group has achieved training alone, with no competition in Perth, is remarkable and everyone ... in this team is a legend.
"We aimed to try and inspire the future of hockey and I truly think we managed to inspire a nation."
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On Thursday the accumulation of years of dedication led to a silver medal for Charter - the Kookaburras' fourth Olympic silver since 1968.
Australia's 17-year gold drought continues after Belgian keeper Vincent Vanasch stood tall to dominate the shootout.
After emerging as the side's hero during their quarter-final shootout win over the Netherlands and saving one of the shootout shots against Belgium, Australian coach Colin Batch said Charter had had an exceptional campaign.
"Andrew Charter played exceptionally well for us, particularly in the playoff situations - the quarter-final, the semi-final and again tonight," Batch said.
Charter's journey to an Olympic medal began when he fell in love with the sport after he filled in for the under-13s team his sister was coaching. He began his hockey career in the field initially, before switching to goalkeeper one year in.
Several years later he made his senior debut for Australia in goals in May 2011 against Malaysia in the Azlan Shah Cup, before helping the team win back-to-back Champions Trophies in 2011 and 2012.
The Canberra Chill player was later chosen as a reserve for the Kookaburras squad for the London Olympics but was denied a bed in the athletes' village and forced to watch from the stands as they won a bronze medal.
After working with a Hockey Australia-appointed sports psychologist to improve his resilience to chase his Rio Olympic goal four years later, he did just that. He earned himself a spot for his first Olympics campaign, where the Kookas finished a disappointing sixth.
He told The Canberra Times in June, Rio was a disappointment and they were looking for retribution in Tokyo. Retribution was served, beating Germany to guarantee an Olympic medal. However, the elusive gold remained just out of reach after three Australian players were denied in the shootout by Vanasch.
Charte said if anyone had anything negative to say about their Tokyo performance to go read Theodore Roosevelt's Man in the Arena speech.
"Let's just say it starts with, 'It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better'," he said.
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