Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Hockey at the Summer Olympics

Field Hockey is part of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics games and has been part of the Summer Olympics since the 1908 London Summer Olympic. The 1908 the 4th edition of the Olympics games. Hockey would miss in the 1912 and the 1924 Summer Olympics edition, partly because by then Hockey in general and as a sport lacked any institution to standardize, regulate and manage it not only globally but also in Europe where it was growing by then. With the formation of International Hockey Federation, it featured in the following edition of the 1920 Summer Olympics, but missed the 1924 but reappeared and remained in all other subsequent editions of the games as from the 1928 Summer Olympics. In total, field hockey has featured in 22 editions of the games and will be featuring for the 23rd time at the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. In the Rio Olympics scheduled from 5th August, it will have 2 events, one for men and the other for the women Summer Olympics Hockey.

Who discovered hockey?

Hockey originated from Africa as historical evidence point to hockey being played in both Ethiopia and Egypt. This was some 2000 before the Birth of Christ. The game may have spread to Europe as there are historical evidence of hockey like sticks dating back to 600 BC in Greece and 1200 BC in Ireland. Other countries like Mongolia too may have played hockey by about 1000 BC.

Hockey Origin is still a debate that ranges on and has been so for many years. Hockey has been and organized sport for about 150 years with the first organization to regulate the sport; the International Hockey Board established in 1900. This is 116 years ago and yet the sport has survived the test of time and will still feature in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics. Prior to the formation of this Boar; IHB in 1900, the sport of hockey had been growing and developing for 30 years.

The HIB was more of a European thing, but a step in the right direction. As much as hockey seemed to be developing and growing in Europe, a country in Asia decided to make inroads in hockey, this was India, that quickly picked the sport and as matter of fact, besides United Kingdom, India was the second country globally to adopt the sport, beating all other European countries and the rest of the world. The early adoption of the Hockey by India is evident as they are one of the most successful team in the Summer Olympics Men Field Hockey Sport.

There are two types of hockey: - Field hockey that takes part in Summer Olympics and Ice hockey which is part of Winter Olympics. The term filed hockey is used to differentiate the Summer Olympics Hockey form the Ice Hockey which is very popular in Canada and USA. Ice Hockey is fairly a recent sport compared to the field hockey.

Field hockey at the Summer Olympics

This is an outdoor game played in the pitch. The hockey ball is about 5cm and it’s usually hard, stone like. In Olympics men field hockey was first played in the 1908 Summer Olympics while the women hockey would debut in 1980 Summer Olympics, held in Moscow.

Currently Hockey is governed, regulated and organized by Federation Internationale de Hockey [FIH], which ensures that that there is standardization of the sport rules across the globe. This makes hockey uniform throughout the world and ensures all the teams, players and other stakeholders adheres to certain rules and regulation.

This is the same organization that plans and manages the Field Hockey sport in all Summer Olympics Games.

The most successful teams in Summer Olympics Field Hockey

India is the most successful team in the Summer Olympics games have won 8 gold medals in the following editions of the Summer Olympics; 1928, 1932, 1936, 1948, 1952, 1956 ,1964 and Moscow’s Olympics of 1980.

For example, in a 1932 Summer Olympics men field hockey match, held on the 11th of August, team India thrashed Team USA by 24 goals to one, India was no joke back then when it came to men field hockey.

The 1932 Summer Olympics Men Field Hockey Match between India and USA, India won with 24 goals to one.

This Picture is from Wikipedia.

The first nation to win the men field hockey gold was Great Britain in the 1908 London Summer Olympics and they repeated the feat by winning the 1912 Summer Olympics hockey sport gold medal.

Germany has the last two editions gold medals, the men hockey gold medal for 2008 Summer Olympics held in Beijing, China and the 2012 London Summer Olympics games. They had previously won the summer Olympics hockey gold medal in the 1972 Summer Olympics when they hosted the games and the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, Spain. Team USA has only won a medal in the men hockey once, a bronze in the 1932 Summer Olympics; their women team too has won a bronze medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics.

Pakistan is yet another nation that have dominated the Summer Olympics hockey sport, they have won gold first in the 1960 Summer Olympics held in Rome, they later won the 1968 Mexico Summer Olympics and finally in the 1984 Los Angeles edition of the Summer Olympics. The Pakistan 1960 Summer Olympics one to nil win over India ended the later dominance of 32 years. Before this India’s northwest neighbor ended the supremacy, India had won six Summer Olympics Hockey sport gold and had scored a total of 197 goals.

Pakistan ended the continued India dominance in the Summer Olympics in the 1960 games when they beat them by one goal to nil. This match was played at the Olympic Velodrome in Rome at 3.30 PM on the 9th of September and the lone goal was scored by Pakistan’s Naseer in the 6th minute.

From the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, India and Pakistan dominance in the hockey sport was halted. Great Britain got a gold medal in the Seoul games and 4 years later German took home the men hockey medal while 2000 and 2004 summer edition gold medal for men hockey sport went to Netherlands.

Women did not feature in Olympics Hockey until at the Summer Olympics of 1980, held in then the Soviet Union capital city; Moscow edition of the games, when the newly Independent Zimbabwe became the first hockey women team to win a gold medal.

Zimbabwe managed to beat Austria in the final match by 4 goals to nil, this after beating host Soviet Union and Poland and drawing with India and Czechoslovakia

Newly Independent Zimbabwe Women Hockey Team in Moscow after their thrilling gold medal, the first ever by a women team

This Picture is from Wikipedia.

Netherlands women team is the current Summer Olympics Champion have taken the coveted gold medal in the 2012 London Summer Olympics. The 2012 win was the third time for the Dutch women to have taken the gold medal, they first won the gold in the 1984, Los Angeles Olympics games, repeated the same feat in Beijing’s 2008 Summer Olympics. Other women teams that have won the Summer Olympics gold medal in Hockey are Australia which has won the title three times. They first won the gold medal for the Summer Olympics, Women Hockey in the 1986 edition of the games and 10 years later in 1996 Atlanta Olympics they won it for the second time and the third time when they were host; in 2000 Sydney Summer Olympics. Spain has won the women hockey medal once, in their Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics while Germany were the Champions in the Athens 2004 Summer Olympics.

With Rio 2016 Summer Olympics round the corner who will be the men and women champions in the Summer Olympics Hockey sport, it a matter of time.