Olympic Preview: Field Sports

As the Olympics creep closer the Sport Addiction continues on with the Olympic previews and into some of the most popular of all of the sports. This will be especially true for the home crowd as the field sports feature two of the most popular British sports. These sports are all played in teams as this preview looks at the first truly team competitions. Although many of the sports up until now have had some type of team component none were a truly team sport. These sports will feature one of the best part of sports as it is more than just the individual in every one. The Olympics generally highlight the accomplishments of single athletes and although the medal count is always watched and countries are named teams all accomplishments can be linked to only one person. In the field sports the accomplishments are shared by a true team of athletes. These athletes train together and live together and form a type of family who looks out for each other and need each other to accomplish their dreams. It is one of the best part of team sports as it takes more than just one person to win or lose a game. Whether or not one person had a great game or a terrible game it is the team that loses and wins not the individual. The shared experience of these athletes makes the experience of going to the Olympics and possibly winning a medal that much more special. These will be the beginning of these sports as Field Hockey, Handball, and Soccer represent the beginning of team sports in the Olympics. It will be a great category to watch as every sport has thrilling plays and plenty of drama although one sport is still king among the group and it will be one of the most popular tickets in the Olympics this year.


Field Hockey:





First Year: 1908 (permanent since 1928)

Most Medals: Netherlands, 14 (4 Gold)


Field Hockey, known as simply hockey in Europe, will be one of the more popular sports this year in London. It has been a staple in the English sports world for decades as one sport that was developed in England. This year the sport will return to where it began and the home crowd will be watching intently. It is yet another sport that the British should do well in as the London crowd watches and hopes for a Gold medal at home. Field Hockey at the Olympics is a tournament style format with both a men’s and women’s tournament. Each tournament will feature twelve teams that will be divided into two pools of six teams each. The top two teams from each group qualify for the semi-finals that will determine the gold medal game. Each team is allowed to bring a total of eighteen players to the Olympics but must name a roster of sixteen before each game. Eleven players from each team line up on a 100×60 yard field that is made up of watered turf, to help the ball glide. The goal of the sport is simply to score more goals than your opponent using the field hockey stick. Players can only use the flat side of their stick to control and maneuver the ball and can only score if they shoot from within the D, a semi-circle border around the goal. Like any sport there are plenty more rules to the game that cannot be explained but it is not an extremely complicated game. Like most team sports, field hockey is more than just who on the team can score the most goals in the tournament. It is more than that individual accomplishment of being the top scorer and instead is about which team play best together. The defence and offence must work together in order to win with passing of the utmost importance. Field hockey is not the fastest game and takes careful planning to move up the field meaning that teammates must play together in order to win games. This is what it will come down to at the Olympics as the best team will win, not the best player, and with that in mind teams arrive and get ready for the long haul. As the crowds watch Field Hockey may have their biggest Olympics following in a longtime as teams go for the Olympic Gold in London.


Who to Watch:

Great Britain (men & women)

– Both the men and the women are ranked among the top four teams in the world and are medal hopes for this year as the world will watch to see if they will fail under the pressure of playing at home or will flourish with the crowd behind them


German Men’s Team

– The defending Olympic Champions will look to fend off the home team and their archrivals in field hockey the Australians as they hope to repeat their success from Beijing and form the test tournament at the Olympic venue in May to win Gold


Dutch Women’s Team

– Netherland’s has been one of the strongest teams in the history of the field hockey tournament in the Olympics and this year the women’s team will be the defending Olympic champions as they look for a repeat in London







First Year: 1936 (permanent since 1972)

Most Medals: Soviet Union, 3 (2 Gold)


Handball is technically played on a court indoors but is categorized under the field sport category due to its history. It is one of the fastest sports in the Olympics, not counting Athletics, as he incorporates many aspects of other sports and then turns up the speed. It is a sport that dates back centuries to when field handball was played in the Olympics in 1936. It quickly moved indoors and moved into a smaller area where the speed and physicality picked up. When it comes down to the basics of this sport from the beginning on it is one of the most simple games in the world. Players face off in a match where they can carry the ball as long as they want and try to throw it into the net. Take this basic principle and add elite athletes and you get an extremely fast game that does not lack for scoring. If soccer is controlled and calculated with their lack of goals then handball can be considered chaos. There can be anywhere up to 50 goals in one game as players dart up and down the court scoring goal after goal. Teams are made up of seven players, six in the field and a goalie, who can pass the ball in between themselves and can shoot from anywhere on the court. The Olympic tournament will be a basic tournament format as twelve teams will be divided into two groups of six. Each group will go through a round robin stage with the top four teams moving on to the elimination round where the last team standing wins gold. It is not a sport that Britain has ever done well in as they have never even been a part of a tournament but many of the European fans who will be in London will be watching. This sport is an extremely popular sport in Eastern Europe and that reflects in their ability to win at many of the events. These fans will be able to educate many of the fans watching as it is not a sport seen much outside of Eastern Europe. It is still one of the most exciting sports in the Olympics as the speed and scoring makes for a high intensity sport that will be fun to watch. Although there will not be much Western interest you may just fall in love with the sport as teams go for gold in London.


Who to Watch:

French Men’s Team

– They are at the top of the Handball world after winning the 2008 Beijing Olympics and winning the last two World Championships as they look to win gold in front of what could be a hostile crowd towards the French


Russian Women’s Team

– Norway is the defending Olympic and world championship but the Russians are the legends as four-time World Champions they will look to get back on the top of the Olympic podium as they look for gold at London 2012







First Year: 1900

Most Medals: USA, 6 (3 Gold)


It is no question that this is the biggest ticket in the 2012 Summer Olympics as Londoners will be looking forward to every game in the 2012 soccer tournament. Soccer, or football as it is called throughout the Olympics, is simply a part of the fabric of the British culture. It will be the biggest sport in the Olympics this year as no matter how traditional any other sport is all eyes will be on the English team, known as Team Britain in the Olympics, to see if they can win at home. To put it in perspective the soccer tournament at the 2012 London Olympics will be the exact same as the hockey tournament was at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. No matter what happens for Britain in the Olympics everything could be washed out if they cannot do well in the soccer tournament. It may not have the prestige of the World Cup or the Euro Cup but it is still a tournament that will see some of the best players in the world compete for gold. It is another sport where the amateur commitment of the Olympics is stretched to its limit. These will be the best players in the world in the Olympics which includes teams full of professional stars. It will see the best against the best and although it may not have the same hype as other tournaments the fans in London won’t care. They will come out in droves to see their team play and the English team will be under tremendous pressure to perform. It will be a difficult tournament with some very good teams in the fold for the men. The Women’s tournament will not have near as much hype around it with the British team not looking like anything close to a powerhouse. Instead it will be the Americans who will be the team to beat along with many of the other powers of the Women’s World Cup. Soccer in itself is a simple game as 11 players on each team look to score more goals than the other and are only allowed to use their feet to do so. It is not the most complicated game but requires extreme skill to perform at the highest level. There is no question that the Soccer tournament will be the focus of the London Olympics as English fans hope for a good performance in a home tournament.


Who to Watch:

Brazilian Men’s Team

– They have been one of the best teams in the history of the sport and this year they will be led by Neymar who hopes to help his team to their first Olympic Gold Medal to put them on the right track before hosting the 2014 World Cup


British Men’s Team

– The pressure will be completely on them after a less than pleasing performance at the Euro Cup earlier this year and after making some questionable decisions like not inviting David Beckham to the team with a medal the only option for the home team


Spanish Men’s Team

– They are the team to beat in international soccer after winning every major tournament for the last 5 years including 2 Euro Cups and the last World Cup as they hope to add an Olympic Gold Medal to the resume of what could be the best team ever


USA Women’s Team

– They have been a very strong team for years but the final win has eluded them on the international stage and after winning the CONCACAF tournament to get into the Olympics they hope to repeat their performance of 1996 when they won gold


Canadian Content:

Canadian Women’s Team

– This could be the year that the Canadian team can get into the medals in the soccer tournament as the Canadian team looks good led by Christine Sinclair but they will need to overcome the best of the best to get on the podium in London

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