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Hockey


Field hockey is fast-moving, skilful game played outdoors in teams of 11.

Oldest game

Hockey is the oldest known ball and stick game: records exist of it being played in Persia in 2000 BC. The name “hockey” probably derives from the French “hocquet”, or shepherd’s crook, and refers to the crooked stick which is used to hit a small ball.

British development

The first team was the Blackheath Hockey Club, dating back to 1861. The Amateur Hockey Association was then formed in London in 1886, before workers and the military carried the game to the four corners of the British Empire. It became an Olympic sport in 1908.

Smoother surfaces

Until the 1970s, the game at international level was mainly played on natural grass, but the heavy turf made the game quite slow. When plastic turf was first used, the game suddenly became quicker and more exciting, giving birth to the modern game.

Dominant nations

Most of the dominant nations in the sport are, or were, members of the British Empire. This includes India, Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, England. Other nations have come to the forefront in more recent times to make the game a truly worldwide sport.

Olympic history

After a first appearance at the 1908 Games in London, hockey became a firm fixture on the Olympic programme as from the Antwerp Games in 1920. Women made their entrance in this sport in 1980 at the Moscow Games. Since the 2000 Games in Sydney, men have competed in a 12-team tournament and women in a 10-team one.

In its 100 years of Olympic existence, hockey has been essentially dominated by one country. The Indian men’s team, with six consecutive titles between 1928 and 1956, was unbeaten in 30 consecutive matches, and scored 197 goals, giving away only eight.

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Gallery

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Teun de Nooijer on finding gold and love at Atlanta 1996

A double Olympic champion and the winner of four medals in all, Dutch hockey player Teun de Nooijer looks back to his first Games at Atlanta 1996, where he struck  gold on and off the pitch.

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Ray shines bright on the Olympic stage

Sandrine Ray was only eight when she dreamed that she would one day play ice hockey for Switzerland at the Olympic Games. It was a dream that magically came true at Turin 2006, as she recalls in this latest episode in our Words of Olympians video series.

IOC
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Llorenc Piera Grau of Spain in the Men Bronze Medal Match of Hockey5s

Nanjing 2014 - Llorenc Piera Grau(L) of Spain competes during the Men Bronze Medal Match of Hockey5s at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on August 27, 2014.
Xinhua
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Medalists of the Mixed International Team Final of Diving

Nanjing 2014 - Wu Shengping of China, Mohab Elkordy of Egypt, Alejandra Orozco Loza of Mexico, Daniel Jensen of Norway, Gracia Leydon Mahoney of the United States and Pylyp Tkachenko of Ukraine(from L to R) celebrate during the awarding ceremony of the Mixed International Team Final of Diving at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, on August 27, 2014.
Xinhua
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Team members of Spain celebrate after the Men Bronze Medal Match of Hockey5s

Nanjing 2014 - Team members of Spain celebrate after the Men Bronze Medal Match of Hockey5s at the Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on August 27, 2014.
Xinhua
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Mackenzie Warne of Australia in the Men's Hockey5s Gold Medal Match

Nanjing 2014 - Mackenzie Warne (C) of Australia controls the ball during the Men's Hockey5s Gold Medal Match at Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, on Aug. 27, 2014.
Xinhua
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