Article posted on: August 08, 2016
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The Olympic hockey competition has started with a bit of a mixed bag of results for Team GB.
The men’s team suffered a bit of a thrashing in their first game, losing 4-1 to Belgium in their opening match. And they’re still searching for their first win in Rio after only managing a draw against New Zealand last night.
Team GB’s women, in contrast, opened their campaign with a victory over Australia. Their second match takes place tonight against India, as they seek to emulate the success of London 2012, where they picked up a bronze medal.
It’s early doors for both the men and women, so here’s your guide to following their Olympic campaigns:
When did Team GB last pick up an Olympic medal in hockey?
Team GB’s women won bronze at London 2012, while the men just missed out, after losing to Australia in the bronze medal match. The men last picked up a medal in Seoul in 1988, when they won gold. In all, Team GB have collected 11 medals at the Olympics – three gold, two silver and six bronze.
What are Team GB’s prospects for medals in Rio?
Well, the women have certainly started their campaign well. It’s early days, but with the introduction of the quarterfinals, four of the six teams in each group will qualify – so they’re looking pretty good in that regard at the moment.
Plus, they’ve got form in beating the best in the world – in June they recorded a series victory against the Netherlands (Olympic champions and ranked number one in the world). And, having recently slipped to seventh in the world after a very disappointing Champions Trophy, they’ll feel they have something to prove.
The men are currently ranked number four in the world and finished fourth in the Champions Trophy. But two games in without a win means they’ll be under pressure to take victory against their next opponents – Australia (who currently top the world rankings) and Spain – in order to progress.
Who are the favourites then?
You’ve got to fancy the chances of Australia in the men’s competition, as they’re currently ranked number one in the world. However, don’t discount Germany, who are reigning Olympic champions and thrashed Canada 6-2 in their opener.
In the women’s competition, the favourites are most definitely the Netherlands. Reigning world and Olympic champions, they’re also top of the FIH world rankings. They’re also the most successful women’s hockey team in World Cup history, and have won three golds, one silver and three bronze medals at the Olympics.
What else do I need to know about hockey at the Olympics?
Hockey made its first appearance at the 1908 Games in London, becoming a permanent fixture in the Olympic Programme at the Amsterdam Games in 1928. Since then, it’s the only team sport at the Olympics where medals have been won by teams representing all the continents involved.
The Olympic hockey was competed exclusively by men until the women’s sport was introduced at Moscow 1980. That first gold medal was won by Zimbabwe. Their victory came as a huge shock, as they only found out they would be included less than a month before the competition started. Plus, all the matches were played on artificial turf – which none of the team had even seen before!
India’s men hold the record for the most consecutive golds, winning six in a row between 1928 and 1956. They’ve won eight golds in all, plus two bronze and a silver – although at London 2012 they could only manage 12th.
If your students have been inspired by the Olympics, why not arrange an exciting school hockey tour, to really build on that enthusiasm? We've got a fantastic range of tours to choose from. For further information, please don't hesitate to contact us.
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