Updated: Sunday, 5th April 2020 @ 10:41am

London 2012 Olympic Preview: Hockey

London 2012 Olympic Preview: Hockey

By Steven Oldham, Sports Correspondent

The next Olympic sport to take centre stage in our preview series is hockey – in which Team GB have struck gold twice in the past.

Hockey celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first involvement in the Games at Beijing 2008, after making its’ debut a century earlier in London. 

However, it took until 1980 for a women’s competiton to be included – Britain’s best result remains bronze at Barcelona 1992.

In recent years, three nations – Australia, Germany and the Netherlands – have dominated both competitions. 

They will prove stern competition if GB want to increase on their ten medal haul from the past century and a bit.

Great Britain sit an impressive fifth in the all time medal table, with five time winners India top of the pile – although they haven’t medalled once since they last won the men’s tournament at Montreal 1980. 

Similarly to football, the Home Nations play individually in other competitions and join forces at Olympic tournaments.

However, there is not nearly the amount of opposition to them playing together that is facing Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and co at the moment. 

In 1988, the men’s team returned from Seoul with an unexpected gold medal – after beating Germany 3-1 in the final.

Hockey clubs across the country could not cope with the sudden interest in the sport following this success – this time though, there has been a concerted effort to make sure that all 26 sports receive backing for the inevitable upturn in interest a home Olympics brings. 

Goalkeeper Beth Storry plays for England and Great Britain.  She is looking forward to a home Olympics.

She said: “It’s exciting to have a home Games.  The whole country is going to come alive and support our teams.” 

“I really hope it will encourage people to get into hockey and see what a great sport it is.  Hockey welcomes everyone; you don’t need to worry about skill level.”

Given hockey’s relative popularity to the likes of football and rugby, with the right skill and hard work, it is more feasible to be able to reach the top of the game as Beth has.

“My progression to the national picture just happened – I played under 16 at county level, then South – when this happened I wanted an England cap – and then a GB cap – the goals just got higher and higher.”

Why not beat the rush and pick up a hockey stick before the Games...maybe we will be cheering you on in at Rio 2016?

Visit www.englandhockey.co.uk and use their helpful club finder to locate your nearest club.