1984, 1988, 1992
Benninga was a member of three consecutive Olympic field hockey teams for the Netherlands, and won two medals. At the 1984 Los Angeles Games, Carina and her teammates defeated four of their five opponents to win the gold medal. With only six nations competing, they played a round-robin tournament in a championship pool with no preliminary games. The Netherlands defeated New Zealand (2-1), the United States (2-1), France (6-2), and Australia (2-0), and tied Canada (2-2) to finish first in the pool with 9 points, winning the gold medal (France finished second with 6 points).
In 1988, Benninga returned to the Olympics at the Seoul Games and won her second medal as a member of the Dutch field hockey team. Carina and her teammates won their preliminary pool by defeating the United States (3-1), Great Britain (5-1), and Argentina (1-0). They automatically advanced to the semifinals, but lost to Australia. In the third-place game, the Netherlands again defeated Great Britain to win the the bronze medal.
Benninga made her final Olympic appearance at the 1992 Barcelona Games where she carried the Netherlands' flag at the opening ceremony (the first woman to do so for the Netherlands). During the competition, the Dutch team defeated New Zealand and Great Britain, but lost to South Korea in their preliminary group. After losing in the quarterfinals, the Nertherlands then defeated Canada before losing to Australia. They officially finished in sixth place.
Benninga was one of the Netherlands' best field hockey players in the 1980s and early 1990s. After graduating from Old Dominion University in Virginia (where she scored 35 goals in 1980 -- still 23rd all-time in a single-season in NCAA Division I history), she helped the Dutch win the 1983 World Cup and then medal in the Olympics. In 1990, Carina captained the World Cup-winning Netherlands team.
After leaving the game as a player, Carina became an assistant coach and consultant for the U.S. National team from 1993-1995. In 1994, she was a member of the U.S. coaching staff and helped lead the Americans to the bronze medal in the World Cup. Carina also served as interim head coach of the U.S. Women's National field hockey team from November 1998-January 1999.
Benninga also coached in Holland, leading the Dutch team to the gold medal at the 1997 Maccabiah Games; she had previously been Holland's flag-bearer at the 1989 Maccabiah Games. Benninga is a member of the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Aug. 18, 1962
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
New York Times, September 19-30, 1988
New York Times, July 27-August 7, 1992