Tokyo Olympics: Hockey

  • 02/01/2021

After an on-again, off-again relationship through the early years, hockey became a permanent Olympic sport at Amsterdam 1928, with women added to the programme at Moscow 1980.

Over that time, India has been the dominant men's nation, capturing eight men's titles, while Netherlands and Australia have both won four women's crowns.

But India won their last gold medal more than 40 years ago and Argentina are reigning Olympic men’s champions from Rio 2016, while Great Britain - under former NZ coach Mark Hager - will defend women's honours. 

New Zealand enjoyed its finest Olympic hockey moment at Montreal 1976, when Tony Ineson converted a penalty corner for the only goal in a gold-medal triumph over the Aussie men.

The Black Sticks women have finished fourth at the last two Games, losing to the British and Germany respectively in bronze-medal playoffs.

They arrive in Tokyo as reigning Commonwealth Games champions, after beating the Brits in a semi-final penalty shootout and Australia in regulation for gold. They're currently ranked sixth in the world, with the Black Sticks men eighth.

NZ Team

Men: Steve Edwards, Sean Findlay, Leon Hayward, Hugo Inglis, Stephen Jenness, Sam Lane, Dane Lett, Shea McAleese, Jared Panchia, Nick Ross, Kane Russell. Jacob Smith, Blair Tarrant, Dylan Thomas, Nick Wilson, Nic Woods

Women: Samantha Charlton, Tarryn Davey, Frances Davies, Stephanie Dickins, Katie Doar, Ella Gunson, Megan Hull, Rose Keddell, Julia King, Olivia Merry, Stacey Michelsen, Grace O'Hanlon, Hope Ralph, Olivia Shannon,Kelsey Smith, Elizabeth Thompson

Five To Watch

Manpreet Singh (India)

Midfielder Singh was the first person from his country to win the International Hockey Federation's Player of the Year award in 2019.

India were a force to be reckoned with in men's hockey, but their last gold came in 1980 and Singh will be a key player in their bid to get back on top of the podium.

Jorrit Croon (Netherlands)

The Dutch attacking midfielder will take part in his second Games.

In June, he scored the decisive penalty in a thrilling shootout to beat Belgium in the European championship semi-finals.

He made his Olympic debut as a teenager at the 2016 Rio Games, when he was the surprise inclusion in the 16-member squad.

Eva De Goede (Netherlands)

The playmaker on the Dutch women's team won gold on her Olympic debut at the 2008 Beijing Games and followed that up with success at the 2012 London Olympics.

After a dramatic shootout defeat to Britain in the final of the 2016 Games, she took time off from hockey to go to South Africa.

Eva De Goede in action for Netherlands
Eva De Goede in action for Netherlands. Photo credit: Getty

The midfielder is excellent at moving past opponents one-on-one and accurately passing on the ball.

Stacey Michelsen (New Zealand)

The captain of the Black Sticks started playing the sport when she was just four years old.

The skilful midfielder, now 30, has been among nominees for World Player of the Year, and is known for her attacking style and excellent ball skills.

She will play in her third Olympics, after appearing at the 2012 and 2016 Games.

Thomas Briels (Belgium)

The 33-year-old forward hopes to compete at his fourth Olympics.

Known for his agility and speed, he will aim to take Belgium's 'Red Lions' to the final again, after they reached the gold medal match in Rio, losing to Argentina.