Field hockey will be one of the sports featured at the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. All of the information in this article comes from the London Olympics' official website unless otherwise noted.
About the Sport
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, the field hockey events will begin Sunday, July 29, and end Saturday, Aug. 11. Each field hockey team contains 16 players, 11 starters and five substitutes. Ten of the athletes will play in the field, and one will serve as a goalie. Players use "hook-shaped sticks" to move a small, hard ball up and down the field for two 35-minute halves. The squad's objective is to score goals by shooting the ball into the opponent's net.
Hockey fields are 91.4 meters (approximately 100 yards) long and 55 meters (about 60 yards) wide with goalposts at either end. "Each goal is surrounded by a D-shaped shooting circle." Players can only score goals when they are within this shooting circle. Per the International Olympic Committee's website, the fields are made of synthetic material. Balls travel much faster on this artificial turf than they do on grass. Interestingly, the hockey fields used in the London Olympics will be painted blue instead of the traditional green.
The London Olympics will feature a 12-team men's field hockey competition and a 12-team women's field hockey tournament. In both contests, the squads are divided into two groups of six teams each for first round play (also called the preliminary phase). In the preliminary phase, all teams compete in a round robin format, with each squad playing the other five teams in its group once. "Teams receive three points for a win and one point for a draw." The top two teams (based on points) from each group advance to the single-elimination semifinals. The semifinal losers will play each other for a bronze medal, while the two semifinal winners will compete against each other for the silver and gold medals.
Important Dates and Times
The first round games for men's field hockey will begin on Monday, July 30, and run every other day through Tuesday, Aug. 7. On gamedays, the first contest will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST with the final game starting at approximately 4:15 p.m. EST. The men's field hockey semifinal contests will take place on Thursday, Aug. 9. The first semifinal game will begin at around 10:30 a.m. EST; the second contest will start at approximately 3:00 p.m. EST. The men's bronze and gold medal matches will occur on Saturday, August 11, at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. respectively.
The first round games for women's field hockey will begin on Sunday, July 29, and run every other day through Monday, Aug. 6. On gamedays, the first contest will begin at 3:30 a.m. EST with the final game starting at approximately 4:15 p.m. EST. The women's field hockey semifinal contests will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 8. The first semifinal game will begin at around 10:30 a.m. EST; the second contest will start at approximately 3 p.m. EST. The women's bronze and gold medal matches will occur on Friday, Aug. 10, at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.
All of the field hockey events will take place at Riverbank Arena, located in the Olympic Park. The facility was built specifically for the London Olympics. "The venue has two pitches [(fields)], one with spectator seating and one for use as a warm-up area."
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The author is a freelance writer who happens to be an avid sports fan. He is not affiliated with any Olympic organizations or field hockey teams.
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